Request for help with student assignment

  1. Hello everyone, I must say great discusions. I know this is not part of your discusion but I was asked to write ethnography paper on experienced nurse but I just realized that I do not know anyone who I consider to be experienced nurse so I would greatly appreciate if any of you could help me by answering this questions for me.


    What changes have occurred in nursing during your career?
    What does it mean to be a professional nurse today compared to yester year?
    What would be the biggest surprise to me about the profession?
    What advises can you give me as an experienced nurse?
    Thank you all so much..

    [Mod. note: Post moved from another forum and given its own thread.]
    Last edit by rn/writer on Sep 23, '07
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  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   leslymill
    Quote from jst_cuz
    Hello everyone, I must say great discusions. I know this is not part of your discusion but I was asked to write ethnography paper on experienced nurse but I just realized that I do not know anyone who I consider to be experienced nurse so I would greatly appreciate if any of you could help me by answering this questions for me.
    Thank you all so much..
    FIRST OFF: I hope a moderator moves this thread, because it is not related to the topic. I am game to help you though. fftopic:

    What changes have occurred in nursing during your career?

    Since 1980:
    No more IV tubing and feeding bags left unchanged for months.
    I love researchers with petri dishes.
    No longer crying after sticking a patient 10x to get a peripheral line.
    Two sticks and I can call it quits.:spin:

    No more dirty uncapped needles at pt. bedsides, in your pockets, in the trash cans, on your carts and ...well basically anywhere.:smiley_aa
    No more direct mouth to mouth resuscitation in a code.
    CPR is more effective.
    Fewer pt falls.
    Restraints are not as common and cruel.
    Care Plans are updated and used effectively. Despite what we used to think,they actually can improve outcomes.
    No more smoking
    No more drinking at the nurses station.:smilecoffeecup:
    No more filthy white hats.
    I get to wear gloves just to say hello. Not to mention, emptying foleys, gomco's, emesis basins.
    Now my new gloves don't cause a rash.
    Flow charts cut down on repetitive charting.
    You feel somewhat more comfortable that your NAs have some formal training.
    I love computers. Really I do. :Crash:

    What does it mean to be a professional nurse today compared to yester year?
    We have a little more autonomy. Our assessments are not completely ignored by other departments.
    Our observations and documentations are legal tools as well as just a story of what is happening with a patient.
    I know I am a professional even if you don't think so.
    Thanks to the invention of the CEU and research driven Quality Improvement, we don't slump into a "We know it all" attitude.
    Flexibility is a wonderful trait

    What would be the biggest surprise to me about the profession?

    The fact that you can get that much work done and get it done well, knowing your patients got what they needed in a shift.

    With all the advances, we still don't get the respect we deserve.


    What advises can you give me as an experienced nurse?

    Continue your education. One mistake and it could all be over.

    No matter how hard you try, and how careful you are, bad things can happen to good people.

    Not only do nurses eat their young, some administrations could try and may treat your precious license like a dirty dish rag to wipe up their messes.....
    That is not good for a college paper.
    Let's see.....
    There will be many ups and downs. You will see countless good outcomes and countless bad outcomes.
    Do not fall into the trap of thinking things can not change for the better.
    :groupwelcome:
  4. by   jst_cuz
    you don't know how happy you make me today.. i sure do feel welcomed. Those are great changes and your advices will never be forgotten. you are appreciated
  5. by   Daytonite
    what changes have occurred in nursing during your career?
    so many! i got my rn in 1975. nurses were still wearing white uniforms, caps and their nursing pins then. we could identify what nursing school you went to by the cap and nursing pin you wore. we did team nursing back then and had lpns and nursing assistants on the team. patients stayed in the hospital longer and we didn't have as many ivs as we do today. no iv pumps either. we had to eyeball and titrate all our ivs. we didn't heparin lock iv's; we did keep vein open rates to keep an iv patent rather than d/c it. we often had patients who were admitted only for batteries of tests. they were so much easier to take care of. today that is all done on an outpatient basis. for surgeries, patients were admitted the day before a surgery and prepped the evening before they went to surgery the next morning. we often had to do their pre-op enema and skin shaving. that is no longer done anymore either and is handled by pre-admission testing and done in the pre-op area. every patient got pm care that consisted of changing the patient's draw sheet on their bed and giving the patient a back rub. we often had one nurse doing just medications and the meds were kept in a medication room, poured into cups and carried to the patient rooms on trays. no medication carts back then. we didn't have as many disposable items. bedpans and urinals were metal and sent back to central service for cleaning, sterilization and reuse. we used glass mercury thermometers which were cleaned and kept in antiseptic solutions for reuse. oral thermometers had blue tops; rectal thermometers had red tops. the hospital supplied the stethoscopes that we used. yes! there were no computers. everything was done by paper. requisitions for tests had carbon paper in them so copies could be made. we used an elaborate pneumatic tube system to send requisitions to the departments they needed to go to. many hospitals had colored lines painted on the floors to help guide visitors to the various departments of the hospital that they needed to go to. the red line took you to the er. walls were generally painted light green for some reason. nurses came to attention and accompanied a doctor when he came on the unit and made rounds of his patients. it was usually the team leader or charge nurse who did this. the rn was expected to assist the doctor with any procedures he decided to do. if you were sitting you always gave up your chair for a doctor. hospital visiting rules were more strictly enforced than they are today. television was a service that patients had to pay for. candy strippers, teenaged volunteers, were everywhere! you don't see them hardly anywhere anymore.
    what does it mean to be a professional nurse today compared to yester year?
    i don't think there is much of a difference as far as the responsibilities and expectations. one big exception that i do see is that there is more of a focus on customer service. many facilities today are very concerned about how their patients are treated by their staffs. the profession is more driven by insurance and legal requirements these days as well.
    what would be the biggest surprise to me about the profession?
    i think that the biggest shock for most is actually what is expected of an rn. most have a view that a nurse helps people when they are sick. that is true. but an rn, particularly in a hospital or nursing home, is also in a leadership position and is expected to be able to provide some supervision, problem solve and be able to multi-task. the amount of responsible tasks that they are expected to accomplish each day can be overwhelming to new people just coming out of school. as hard as a school program can try, it is difficult to prepare a student for these realities. i've never worked as hard in my life as i have as a staff nurse. it is both physically and mentally demanding. if you don't have a good work ethic nursing is not for you.
    what advises can you give me as an experienced nurse?
    study hard. learn as much as you can. don't fall into the trap of thinking that anything you are being taught in nursing school is worthless. nursing school is only teaching you the basics--the tip of the iceberg. your real learning starts the day you get your license and start your first job. you will learn every day of your working life from then on. your patients will teach you more than you will learn from them. nursing is a life-changing career that will affect the way you think and feel about the value and worth of things in the world. hang onto your textbooks and notes from school because you will need them for reference. in fact, you will probably want to add a few more books to them later on after to graduate. after you graduate keep in touch with your instructors because they will be interested in knowing how you are progressing in your career. they, more than anyone, know what faces you. consider very carefully any bridge before you burn it. if you live in the same town for many years you will very likely run into the same nurses again because we tend to change facilities and run into each other again and again. so, rather than run away from problems do everything you can to learn to face them and deal with them. above all, school doesn't teach you everything. there will be times when you run into problems for which you have no solutions. it may take you some time to seek the answers. the most important skill you can take away from a formal education is how to find answers to questions. knowing where resources are is the biggest tool you have. as one of my professors told me, "we send you into the world with a bag of tools after showing you the basics of how to use them. whether you learn to be a master at using those tools is all up to you." what i have found over the years is that many a nurse forgets what tools they have in their bag and that is sad.

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