Nurses of a Certain Age

Excepted from Off the Charts, May 31, 2017

 

AJN Facebook Readers on Influences, Public Attitudes to Nursing, Practices of Yesterday

by Betsy Todd, MPH, RN, CIC 

What do you remember from early in your career that would never be seen or done today?

We “nurses of a certain age” remember!—and we’re amazed at how far our profession has come. As one nurse commented, in response to early nursing practices that seem primitive today, “Oh my goodness, how has humanity survived?!”

There were, of course, our caps, white dresses, white hose, and white shoes. One nurse recalled that we always wore our school pins on our uniforms. These seem not much in evidence these days, but were always a source of pride and connection (and sometimes, lighthearted rivalries) back in the day.

In addition, nurses pointed out that the scope of practice has certainly changed. Nurses mixed soft soap for enemas, mixed weak solutions of Lysol (!) for vaginal douching. Wound care has, shall we say, evolved. Nurses recalled packing wounds with eusol (chlorinated lime plus boric acid—“cleaned wounds by removing patients’ flesh with it!”), Savlon (chlorhexidine combined with a chemical later used for disinfecting floors), Milton (a bleach solution), or sugar mixed with Betadine or egg whites. Some remembered “vigorously rubbing talc onto bums to relieve pressure” or “Maalox and heat lamp for sore butts.”

Are automated medication dispensing systems (for example, Pyxis machines) and bar codes part of your daily routine? Several comments described pouring meds from stock bottles on the unit or mixing chemotherapy solutions in the medication room. There were no medication carts, just medication trays with cups and handwritten cards for each patient (different colored cards for b.i.d, t.i.d., etc.).

“Point of care” lab testing didn’t include quality checks. One nurse remembered “burning urine samples in a glass tube over a Bunsen burner to check sugar levels.” DeLee suctioning of newborns—“I ended up with a mouth full of stomach contents more than once”—or pipetting blood and urine samples for the lab via mouth suction were also routine.

Many comments reminded us of tools rarely seen in today’s hospitals. There were time-taped IV bags, glass syringes and IV and chest tube bottles, mercury thermometers, crank beds and egg-crate mattresses, “gloveless everything,” and no hand sanitizer.

Routines and work practices of years ago may be hard to imagine today. Nurses recalled smoking during report, and patients smoking in bed. Patients were admitted “just for observation,” or a day or two prior to surgery. Each shift charted in a different color of ink. Nurses recalled time to talk with patients, and actual “acuity-based staffing” (“RIP,” as one nurse commented).

Another nurse summed up a certain sadness as she described some lost aspects of patient care:

“morning care before breakfast, clean sheets every day, evening care with back rubs, trash emptied, fresh water and being aware of the patient’s environment. [We] took time to assess the patient by the RN and listening. The care was impeccable because of the nurses who controlled the patient experience.”

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NOT SURPRISING NURSES ARE THE MOST TRUSTED PROFESSIONALS

NURSES ARE THE MOST TRUSTED PROFESSIONALS

This is from the Medscape Medical News

Nurses Remain Nation’s Most Trusted Professionals

Jenni Laidman  Dec 06, 2012 Authors & Disclosures

Medical professionals are among the most trusted people in the United States, a new Gallup survey shows, with 85% of survey respondents ranking nurses highest for honesty and ethics, followed by pharmacists (75%) and physicians (70%).

The 2012 sampling was conducted via telephone November 26 through 29 among 1015 people aged 18 years and older in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The survey results, published December 4, have a margin of error of ±4 percentage points and a confidence interval of 95%.

The poll asked respondents, “Please tell me how you would rate the honesty and ethical standards of people in these different fields — very high, high, average, low, or very low?” A list of 22 professions was then provided in random order to each person contacted. Spanish-speaking respondents were interviewed in Spanish.

Nurses, who have led the rankings for 11 consecutive years, were ranked “high” or “very high” for honesty and ethics among 85% of respondents. The survey has been conducted annually since 1976, and nurses were first included in 1999.male and female nurse

“This poll consistently shows that people connect with nurses and trust them to do the right thing,” said American Nurses Association President Karen A. Daley, PhD, MPH, RN, in an association news release. The only time nurses were not first on the list was 2001, after the terrorist attack of September 11, when firefighters ranked first. Firefighters have not been included in polling in any other years.

Engineers tied with physicians for third place, ranking 70%, followed by dentists at 62%, police officers at 58%, college teachers at 53%, and clergy at 52%. Psychiatrists ranked eighth, at 41%, and chiropractors ninth, at 38%, followed by bankers (28%) and journalists (24%).

At the very bottom were car salespeople, with 8% ranked high or very high, and members of Congress, at 10%.

Medscape Medical News © 2012  WebMD, LLC

Send comments and news tips to news@medscape.net.

Cite this article: Nurses Remain Nation’s Most Trusted Professionals.  Medscape. Dec 06, 2012.