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"The Good Ol' Days!"

Nurses Article   (43,580 Views | 152 Replies | 340 Words)

BostonTerrierLover has 16 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Adult/Ped Emergency and Trauma.

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One of my favorite things about allnurses is reading the posted "Stories" of how things used to be. I am amazed to learn about nursing in the past, and how things are different now. You are reading page 10 of "The Good Ol' Days!". If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

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Thanks for your aunt's story--and for the Thos. Jefferson quote!

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62 Posts; 2,372 Profile Views

I got my Nursing Education in the early to late 1970s as well. One hospital I worked in had a Nurses' Lounge where the walls started out off white at the bottom and turned more brown the further up the walls that you looked. The ceiling, which had been white some 20 years before, was yellow. It stank in there, but al most all of the nurses smoked, so I gave report and got the h-e-l-l out asap afer report.

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jrbl77 has 43 years experience as a RN and specializes in Med Surg, Parish Nurse, Hospice.

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Very interesting post. Next month, i will be out of nsg school 35 yrs. have worked as a staff nurse since then. have seen many changes, but the best improvement I think I have seen is the wound vac. When I think of pts of mine in the past that would have benefitted- my their lifes wouldn't have been shortened or so miserable to the end.

Of course there have been many changes, I remeber mixing chemo drugs in the back med room, nothing special, just did it. Peritonel dialysis temp caths being placed in the procedure room on the floor. They leaked terribly. We hung 8 glass bottles and had to carry a stop watch to time everything. Oh. by the way the pts were usually in a semiprivate room.

It amazes me all the changes. Pts used to get a complete bed change twice per day. As a new grad, I woked on a 64 bed unit. On nights we would have 3 or 4 nurses and evenings maybe 4 or 6. I also remember a pt or 2 bleeding out from their carotids, there was nothing to do, but try to comfort the family and clean up the mess after it was all over.

I have about 10 more yrs to work, wonder what other changes I will see. I can imagine my some former teachers and adminstrators rolling over in their graves if they saw some of the changes!

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jrbl77 has 43 years experience as a RN and specializes in Med Surg, Parish Nurse, Hospice.

248 Posts; 8,811 Profile Views

Just remembered one more thing, Drs making rounds with their cigars and leaving them on the handrail outside the pt room. We could always tell when certain Drs had rounded.

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To the mind of this RN, who has been out of Nursing School 32 years, healthcare was better before Big Government and the corporations rung the CARE out of healthcare, as evidenced by your description of hospital care in the 70s. That's the way that I experienced it as well. How short our memories are! We have been heading 180 degrees in the wrong direction in health care since about 1965. It was way cheaper back then, by a factor of 12-14, when one compares medical bills, insurance premiums and inflation from 1965 to today. And in fact, about 80% of people had insurance coverage back then, about the same as today--but nobody coiunted people covered by charity care (ex-Medicaid) as insurance back then, like they do now, so really, more than 80% were covered nthen; much less than 80% today, so where is the benefit from Billions $pent? When you look at it that way, we were better off as a population before Medicaid and Medicare and the so-called Great Society.

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Code_VSA has 40 years experience and specializes in Emergency Room, Specialty Infusions.

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My instructor in the LPN program (1974) was from Quebec, Canada. She would tell us during her rotation as an OB student nursed, they would have to get up during the night and go to deliveries. As proof to the Nuns that they actually went, it was required to bring back the placenta as proof. She said one night, it fell out of the back of the horse drawn buggy and dogs got a hold of it.

My other instructor, an ex-Army Mash nurse, said that during the 40's, nurse's weren't allowed to take blood pressures. It was a doctor's job. When asked if the movie/sit-com "Mash" had any facts to it, she would just smile mischieviously and walk away.

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Dalzac is a LPN, LVN, RN and specializes in CCU,ICU,ER retired.

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I started as an aide in ICU in 1977. We could smoke at the desk then. The monitors then were a bouncing ball type oscillascope. We had to mark the leads when we ran EKG's. We did 15 minute VS without the help of any machines The drips were not on any pumps. We had team nursing, the RN was in charge and did all the charting, the LPN gave all the meds and watched all the iv's, the techs did ALL the patient care, I an O's, urine tests with the strips and there was no floating for anyone. Staffing wasn't done by acuity. If you were scheduled you came to work. And no one was sent home or floated if census was low. You just cleaned everything. And rearranged files and such.

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traumajunkie63 has 27 years experience and specializes in EMERGENCY MEDICINE with Peds and Psych.

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What Could You Share about the "Way Things Were Back Then?"

it really wasnt that too long ago.. i went to a DIploma Nursing School...we stayed in the dorms, had to be in by midnight during the week or the front doors were locked and even had a "house mom"...i graduated in 1985.....

i too love to hear the stories about the days of old....

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MaleICURN has 46 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Critical Care, PICU, OR.

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Well, I graduated 1974.

That would be a book, to catch all the differences. Let's try just a few.

1. Nurses BEHIND the doctor. NO questions. Doctor said: "20 mg of Morphine" - answer "Yes, Sir"

2. No disposable stuff whatsoever. Daily sterilization of syringes (glass) and needles (steel). Cleaning inside needles.

3. Bedpans, urinals - metal.

4. No IV pumps, I remember first IV pumps (very primitive by today's standards) used for pressors only.

5. 3 color charting - depends on the shift: morning - blue, afternoon - green, night - red.

6. Monitors on ICU, sometimes one monitor for a patient, no central monitor (however, sometimes happened a central, alarms printed with hyphens r/t number of the bed [bed nr 3 = ---], no differentiation for alarms, like the same sound for disconnected electrode or VF).

7. Smoking - patients, nurses, doctors - one exemption was OR, however in the OR lounge everybody smoked.

8. Very HOT OR - at least 98-99 degrees, no patient's warming blankets.

9. Only one nurse dispensing meds for the whole unit (except ICU).

10. Three 8 hrs shifts.

11. Gloves ONLY for the OR, specifically the surgical team.

12. Continuous staff cover for OR (no calls).

13. Making gauze dressings (today's 4x4's or 2x2's).

14. Celebrating coffee meeting for the whole team after each medium/big surgery (maybe except for little cases like T&A).

15 Long turn on surgical cases (see # 14).

16. In each and every hospital each unit had a physician present 24/7 (not on call), on occasion a physician present on unit called himself for help (e.g. emergency big surgery).

and so on, and so on...

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merlee has 36 years experience.

1,246 Posts; 13,517 Profile Views

My class (1974) was the first NOT required to wear a girdle!! We had grey uniforms with a white collar and cuffs, had to have freshly polished/cleaned nursing shoes, and I had a navy cape.

Most nurses still stood to relinquish their seat at the NURSES' station so the docs would have a place to sit.

A med room stocked w/big bottles of certain meds, and a tray with cups to carry from room-to-room to give the meds. Then came the carts.

Color-coded charting led to multi-colored pens! We each had one, with 3 or 4 different barrels in them.

Mercury sphyg's were common, on wheels, then came the aneroids.

Capping and pinning ceremonies - tears in all of our eyes!

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN and specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

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whilst caps do have a certain place in the profession's history, and or for some even present day practice, notwithstanding one's own nostalgic reminiscences on the matter, cannot imagine anyone seriously wanting to go back to them today.

it's sort of like women/girls who pine for *real* playtex rubber or "18 hour" girdles. yeah they did work but you've no idea of the suffering. *lol*

​spanx aren't that much better!

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Code_VSA has 40 years experience and specializes in Emergency Room, Specialty Infusions.

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Any one mention glass mercury thermometers for oral/rectal temps? I couldn't imagine giving a bath today with my bare hands like we use to. Ughhhh.

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