Nursing: Then and Now - page 15

Looking back to when I was in nursing school, and then starting my nursing career, I remember many things that are no longer in use, or things that have transformed over the years. Gone are the days... Read More

  1. by   Cohiba
    Quote from Ruby Vee
    That's what women look like getting up at 5 AM to work the day shift and not wearing make-up.
    That's not far from what I look like getting up at noon after sleeping for a couple of hours following a NOC shift...
  2. by   amoLucia
    I'd be curious what school of nursing they attended with those pointy caps. Anybody got a guess???

    Now it would definitely be that infamous cap that got tangled up in curtains and hanging tubings.
  3. by   Christy1019
    Do any of you collect some of these antiquated nursing things, I.e. caps, capes, syringes etc? I just find them all fascinating and was thinking about starting a collection...
  4. by   CrazierThanYou
    Quote from amoLucia
    Reading through various posts about needlestick injuries and I had another 'flashback' moment. Before the days of 'Universal Precautions', remember when we routinely recapped needles, esp in facilities that require us to do 'sharps counts'. Then we all progressed to those red 'needle cruncher' boxes.
    Tell me about these "sharps counts".
  5. by   nursel56
    Quote from trufflelilyRN
    Does anyone else remember cleaning thermometers? After vital signs were taken on the floor thermometers were cleaned of any matter and soaked in alcohol or benzylkonium chloride. In four hours or when vital signs were due again, they were dried, placed in a cute little tray and passed around the floor again. Seems abhorrent looking back from today's world, doesn't it?
    I remember something similar. My first hospital job all our little patients had their own glass thermometers. We washed them with cold water (you don't want to heat mercury!) and some type of disinfectant soap then stuck them back in their little holder with BAK solution. Most of our patients had their temps taken axillary with an oral thermometer. It takes a long time to do when you have 6 babies to take care of and each temp took 10 minutes to do correctly!

    Not very hygienic because some nurses were not very fastidious and you'd see crud floating around in the BAK! Ew! Oral thermometers were blue, rectal were red but we were taught to always check the head of the thermometer just to be sure!

    The next innovation I recall was in a clinic we saw the addition of a "Temp-away" plastic sheath you would put on the glass thermometer. They were thin and tore very easily and were pretty much useless because they encouraged people to believe they didn't need to be as careful disinfecting between patients.

    Next was the "Tempa-dot" strips. I hated those things with a vengeance. Then came that glorious day when we got our first digital thermometer! It was a clunky brick-like device with a telephone cord attached to a metal probe you would cover with a plastic sheath. Those were fun because you could shoot the plastic into the wastebasket from several feet away by pressing the "eject" button. Not sure if it was called the "eject" button but that's what it did! Thermometer lore! Who knew there was so much of it!
  6. by   DoGoodThenGo
    Quote from amoLucia
    I'd be curious what school of nursing they attended with those pointy caps. Anybody got a guess???

    Now it would definitely be that infamous cap that got tangled up in curtains and hanging tubings.
    Some of the most famous caps for getting tangled in curtains, tubings and ortho equipment were those from the schools run and or affiliated with Catholic hospitals. Many such as the famous Saint Vincent's NYC caps were based on nun's coronets thus often had a "winged" appearance. That and most were designed to be worn towards the front (if not sloping down) of the head. All this meand one had to move one's head like something out of "The Thunder Birds" to avoid butting one's head against something. That or if not anchored properly the thing could slide right off your head into a sterile field, would/dressing change, bed pan (most always full), emesis basin (ditto) . Also because it was on the front of your head it made an attractive target for infants and young children to yank upon.

    This picture was taken from the last graduation class of Saint Vincent's School of Nursing on Staten Island. The program was taken over by a for profit company and now called Saint Paul's.

  7. by   DoGoodThenGo
    Quote from Christy1019
    Do any of you collect some of these antiquated nursing things, I.e. caps, capes, syringes etc? I just find them all fascinating and was thinking about starting a collection...
    There are quite a few collectors of vintage nurse's items (uniforms, caps, capes, bags, etc.... ) out there. Have seen very rare or exclusive caps (John Hopkins for instance) go for *BIG* money on eBay. We are speaking of several hundred dollars for something everyone claims no one wears anymore and are not relevant to the profession.

    Some caps and school items are on the level of holy grail and rarely come onto the market. When they do prices are very high. Bellevue, Philadelphia Hospital, and a list of other school caps, student uniforms and so forth rarely are found on the "open market" so to speak. IIRC while Kay's Caps and other such vendors have the patterns for hundreds of current and defunct nursing school caps, there are those they do not and or require some sort of authorization to make.

    At one point there were over 4K hospital based and other schools of nursing in the USA. Most every single one had a cap (excluding the programs exclusively for male nurses). It seems a shame no one has done a book to catalog as many of such programs, their caps and student uniforms. Believe it or not there is one or perhaps a handful of such books on religious orders showing habits, so go figure.


    A word regarding cap wearing etiquette. In theory one should not wear a cap on is not entitled to, that is one did not attend and graduate from the school in question. In the old days professors and instructors wore their own school caps at functions such as graduations or on the floors, not that of their current employer. Therefore even if one collects caps and decides to wear one to work say for Nurse's Day or just because be forewarned there are still plenty of nurses out there that get defensive about their school's cap. Just as with sororities and rings these nurses have very firm ideas about who has the "right" to wear the thing.

    Am firmly convinced for instance that the reason you see so few "Bellevue Fluff" caps lying about spare is that graduates are taking the things to their graves! *LOL* That you have to pry the thing out of their cold dead hands. So if you are working say in a NYC hospital and managed to get your hands on a Bellevue cap, it may not be at all surprising if someone comes up to you and starts talking about the school assuming you are an alumni.

    Of course the other big thing is school pins. Two words; "just don't". *LOL*

    Have not even (nor will) begin to touch upon the whole "stripe" versus "no stripe" thing. If you went to a program that entitles you to use a stripe, then you already are sorted. If not and or are unclear you better ask somebody. *LOL*
    Last edit by DoGoodThenGo on Aug 10, '14 : Reason: content added
  8. by   NutmeggeRN
    Esme, first post of your I have seen in forever! Welcome back! (I have been working with limited internet access) Have missed your contributions!
  9. by   NutmeggeRN$_103.JPG?set_id=2

    A replica of my cap
  10. by   Parakeet
    How much are the afore mentioned clinic brand shoes? I found a couple of 1940s patterns - not nurse dresses, but I will change that.

    Even though we are being trained for electronic charting and records, I want to learn how to do all of my calculations manually..........just in case.......

    I consider myself real 'old style'. There are things that I wish could have stayed, but then many other improvements have also been made. For instance, spending more time with patients.....I do not quite want to spend every hour of my day charting or passing meds.......I have two more semesters to figure it out!

    I love this thread! Keep it up!
  11. by   lindarn
    Who remembers, polishing their Clinic Nursing shoes before Clinical, and because the white shoelaces would also get grubby, dipping the shoelaces in Clorox, as well, to get them white!

    Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN (ret)
    Somewhere in the PACNW
  12. by   WKShadowRN
    if I did this correctly, this photo is of me during nurse's week this year. I am wearing a vintage 1940s cape, clinic shoes, and of course my beloved cap.
  13. by   Junebug903