Ha! You know what I took care of a nurse today who has 37 years of nursing experience, so she's only 34 years ahead of me, ;P
Anyway, here is kinda what we came up with:
I thought being a nurse today was so bad because of a high patient load, but my patient tells me that on a medsurg unit 37 years ago she would have 16 patients to care for with the assistance of two aids.
Then I asked what she thought about the acuity of the average med-surg patient today compaired to when she first started. However, she said that she felt her patients were just as sick 37 years ago, they just didn't leave so quickly.
The one thing we did agree on is that newer nurses get a poor education. The book learning is important, but we've swung to far towards it. When she started nursing school she spent every day of the week in the hospital. When I was in nursing school I spent every day at school and 4 hours twice a week in the hospital. Yes, my last semester I had 185 hours of bedside, along with classes, but that still wasn't enough time.
I think that nurses 30 years ago learned some invaluable team work ability and precision that newer nurses today do not understand because we just were never exposed to it.
When I got out of school with my few hundered hours of clinical under my belt, I was then precepted by a nurse who had only been a nurse a year herself. So if nursing school only teaches us how to think and gives us minimal experience, then we get out of school and gain experience from those who have minimal experience, what do you get?? A bunch of fairly new nurses that are over whelmed and not confident in their skills. They end up believeing that this career wasn't for them because they couldn't keep up and they leave. Not to mention the fact that since these nurses show a lack of confidence they had doubting doctors and NPs treating them poorly to further decrease their faith in themselves.
Nursing today is vicious and a down right awful expereince for a new grad (on average). A experience I would not wish on someone I cared about. I truly do not believe this is how things were 30 years ago, because there is no way the public at large would have the respect they seem to in our profession if it was this way 30 years ago.