1950s nursing - page 10

I would love to hear how a nurses day went in the 1940s,50s, early 60s. Any major differences between now and then...any good stories to share?... Read More

  1. by   CseMgr1
    Quote from colrainrn
    This thread started last year and I would love to hear if any new members have and memories of nursingfrom the 40s, 50s,60s and 70s and comments on how things have changed. There were some really good responses and Id love to hear more..even if they are second hand experiences

    Colrain, Ma
    Among the most vivid of my memories was the frequent visits our Pediatrician made to our home in the middle of the night. I didn't understand why (until years later) my Dad had to take me from the bed I shared with my sister and carry me to the sofa in the living room. She had severe asthma and the doctor would come to our house and give her a shot of adrenalin. He would stay with her until she threw up and her airway would finally clear.

    Those were the days....
  2. by   Jamesdotter
    Quote from blueheaven
    Some of those were in the 70's too. Another poster talked about thermometers...red tops were rectal and blue top was for oral. We did the soak 'em alcohol thing when I was in nursing school.
    Mom tells me that she had to sharpen IM needles. Syringes were made of glass. Does anybody remember REAL 3 bottle chest drainage systems? Or wagensteens?
    Wangensteen suction--yes indeed and God help you if you kicked one over (easy to do because it was beside the bed, one bottle hanging from the curtain gizmo, the other two on the floor and the bottles were glass!). The chest drainage bottles were also glass in a similar arrangement as I recall. I often thought that I'd be prepared to work in a 3rd world country with no electricity.

    In addition to the syringes and needles as above, we also wrapped obstetrical instruments and drapes for sterilization, although central supply did the OR stuff. When I first started, we actually had rubber tubing for all IVs except blood administration. In addition, they used (and reused after sterilization) the same kind of rubber tubing for catheter drainage. Which drained into open glass (of course) bottles. I once referred to them as vinegar jugs and was promptly corrected. "These are made of a special glass."
  3. by   prmenrs
    Quote from margaretptz
    Our instructor recommended this film to see what it was like, even has an iron lung. The quality isn't great, but it's worth watching

    That was an excellent tape. The technology has changed, along w/the fashions, but the lesson is very much the same.
  4. by   crissrn27
    Quote from prmenrs
    That was an excellent tape. The technology has changed, along w/the fashions, but the lesson is very much the same.
    Really great tape! It is really amazing what has changed...........and what hasn't. I felt like I had cared for that very woman! Had so many like her, and while some were just hateful so and so's, some really responded to the very things they did for the pt in the tape. Family involvement, pt involvement, comfort and reassurance. This reminded me why all those threads about "visiting hours" and "bad pts family" annoy me. Basically, those threads say "I want them to go away, and let me do my job". I have felt that way at some points. Some times we get caught up with the "tasks" of nursing and forget we are treating people..........I have done it, and try really hard not to. Great lesson for nursing in any time period.
  5. by   olol765
    I love this thread!! The funny thing is, I regularly get coffee for the two docs I work with. When they first asked me to get it for them I was speechless!!! Just who do they think I am??? But then I realized they could get to work faster if I got it for them and then leave just as fast. After a while, it was just a part of the job.
    I would LOVE to hear about Psych nursing in the 1950's or so!!! I bet that has changed ALOT!!
  6. by   jyoung1950
    This post isn't specifically about nursing but what I remember of medicine "back in the day."

    I grew up in the 50's and 60's. I remember our family doctor would come to the house if any of us were sick.

    My grandfather was hospitalized a number of times for heart problems back in the late 50's when I was still in grade school. Under no circumstances were children under the age of 14 allowed in the hospital. And visiting hours were strictly adhered to.
  7. by   jyoung1950
    Patients brought to the ER did not have IV's. Most were transported by volunteers who just drove the "ambulance".

    And the ambulances were station wagons!

  8. by   TrudyRN
    I think any pt in an iron lung had sufficient reason to be unhappy.
  9. by   DutchgirlRN
    In the 70's we were encouraged "not" to wear gloves, we were taught that using gloves might make the patient think that we thought that they were dirty and that's why we were wearing gloves.
  10. by   judjohns
    To the person who wrote about "Dr. Reich" and "Nurse Alma" in the 1950s/60s; I grew up in Roswell, New Mexico and my doctor's office was EXACTLY the same in every way except that our doctor was Dr. Briggs and he looked like Gregory Peck in the old move "To Kill a Mockingbird"...very scholarly with wire framed glasses, tall and stooped over, very thin. His nurse was Miss Vick...she was just like Alma except she had beautiful red hair which she wore in a bun at the back of her neck. She was tall and strong and stout and made me feel very safe...

    I think it was the wonderful health care (and I emphasize CARE) that we got from them that made me decide to become the only nurse in my family. I am a Family Nurse Practitioner and have been an RN in Lubbock, Texas since 1995.

    This is a great nursing web site!
  11. by   Ms. Nurse Assistant
    Was the material you had to learn in nursing school easier back then? did a lot of people drop out?
  12. by   Ms. Nurse Assistant
    Quote from prmenrs
    My school (1965=1968) cost a total of $875. That included room, board, tuition, books, uniforms, including a cape---the works!!!
    I know now most people could certainly afford it, but could the average person be able to afford that back then?

    Also why did doctors stop making house visits?

    And if you got your RN back in say the 1930s/1940s your license is still good today?
  13. by   nrsang97
    Your license is still good if you keep renewing it.