Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Forty and fabulous

Musing on 40 years since I graduated from nursing school.

What a different world that was.

Nurses caps required at my first job. It sailed off my head when the day supervisor left for the day.
Also a white dress, white stockings, ugly Clinic shoes. Hair up and off neck.  Just like nursing school, only without the striped pinafore.
Metal bedpans and urinals.  Bedpan washer.
Glass IV bottles.
Smoking allowed in patient's rooms.  Emptying the ashtrays part of PM care routine, along with back rubs and changing pillow cases.
Smoking allowed at the nurses station (at night)
No wearing gloves except for sterile procedures, or possibly for a gone-by-the-wayside iced saline lavage for  a GI bleed.
Stryker frames.
Paper documentation.
Med carts and bottles of pills.
Narcotic count.
3 bottle chest tube drainage system
Setting up a science experiment to determine glucose levels in the urine on the ward.
clinitest tabs would turn 10 drops of pee blue, for no sugar or on the normal side.  I loved doing those.
Eyeballing the number of drops per 15 second for a 100 ml per hour IV drip rate. (6, for a 15 gtt tubing by the way).  No pumps.
Patients needing post op narcotic pain meds were given IM injections.  Think about that and the current opioid crises.
Admitting next-day pre-ops between 3 and 5 PM (for cholecystectomy, hyst,  or TURP,  for example), then pre-op teaching, prepping (enemas, shaving nipple to knees on abdominals)
Waking surgicals at 5:30 AM for IV starts.  Or more enemas.  Good morning!
Verbal report from charge nurse.  Led to taped report, and you had to listen to the report on all patients. In a smoke filled room, everyone smoked.
Being forced to take a 30 minute meal break AND a 15 minute coffee break.  Actually go to a cafe or sit down in a nurses lounge and have a break.
The night supervisor was a battle axe.
Being a brand new nurse and in charge of a 40 bed floor 3 months after getting a license.  Because I could.  And I was incredibly lucky.
Being a new ER nurse with 18 months of nursing experience, 8 hours of orientation,  alone on 11-7 with a doctor who was allowed to sleep.  And expected to register patient's to boot.

No wonder I'm tired.