Tag Archives: nurses

“When Men were Men and Women were Women” and Nursing Students Were Young Ladies.

I have no idea where this saying came from except it is pretty old. I think I heard it as a child in a song about the early west, when…  Thinking of things old got the memory blister starting to bubble and boil.  Again.

Some people came to see to see my apartment the other day and one of the girls looked at a print I have on my wall which depicts a modern day nurse with a young patient and In the background there is an apparition of a medical scene with a nurse but the ghostly scene is as it would have appeared probably fifty years prior.  She asked if I was a nurse.

Friends of mine who were in the teaching profession have the same type of pictures but the depictions are of classroom scenes present and past.  Tonight when sleep dodged my tired brain my thoughts went back to what it was like when I was a probie in 1966.

Male nurses were rare.  I don’t think in three years of training I ever met one.

It was expected that ‘young ladies’ who entered training did not have part time jobs, because after all we were young ladies.

Our uniforms and caps were washed and starched heavily by the hospital laundries.

Nursing students lived in residences that had connecting underground tunnels to the hospital.

We had a Housemother whose apartment was on the first floor close to the reception area.  If we left the residence we had to sign in and out and mark the times.  Very strict curfews!  Young men calling to take a student out on a date never got past the reception area which did have a seating area.

Nothing was disposable.  Everything was metal or glass including syringes.  Needles were resterilized and you had to look for burrs on the end of them which occurred after multiple use. (Very difficult and painful entry for the patient if you missed one!)

Morphine came in pills which we had to dilute in saline and draw up for injection.

Doctors were very much the boss and we the handmaidens.

We mixed and applied mustard plasters for chest congestion.

There were no nasal cannulas or masks.  If someone needed oxygen they went into an oxygen tent which was moist, noisy and cold.

First years were at the mercy of the older students in subtle ways.  On my first day there was a lovely reception held for us and our parents.  Cake and tea for the adults.  We had a delightful punch the middle years had made for us.

On arising to knocks on the doors the next morning we hustled off to the large bathroom to get ready and everyone of us believed we might be dying.  The punch had been spiked with Pyridium a drug typically used for urinary tract infections, a side effect of which is red urine.  Some people see red, we peed it.

They were fun years of learning, of laughing and more than once crying.

They were great years, Pyridium and all!

Sitting in Emerg on a Fine Sunday..

Sitting in Emerg on a Fine Sunday Afternoon

Here I am in a crowded emergency department giving thanks yet again to the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.  It is just past noon and I have brought my sister in.  We have this excellent system- in theory – where someone comes in the door, prints off a computerized form which has a number on it and then is seen by a triage nurse for assessment.  Smooth huh?

So we get here at noon. On entry sisthepatient gets the form, fills it out and sits.  She has number thirty-one.  There is no triage nurse present.  Perhaps they are on lunch. Looking around I see two other patients also clutching the registration form.  Seems the system has a glitch..already.  We also notice that one gent says this is a follow up visit to yesterday.  So this is looking more like a regular doctor’s office..certainly not an emergency.  Kay that explains the slow pace of everything.  No emergency in site.  Anywhere.  I wonder where real emergencies go?  Actually sisthepatient has the potential for a real emergency.

About two and half hours ago we sat down at our fav Williams with a latte. I was looking at a head line about Charlie Sheen and was relating info to sisthepatient when she said, “Now that’s not right.”

I thought she meant with Charlie.  But she meant with herself. Seems she was experiencing sudden vision problems.  Now being a nurse I told her I had to take her immediately to emerge.  Now being my sister she insisted on going home and calling her doctor.  He told her to go emergency immediately as it could indicate detached retina with possible profound sight loss.  Profound equals blind in this case.

So here we are at the non emergency emergency department.  It took thirty-five minutes to be seen by the triage nurse.  Then registration.  Ah at last recognition!  We were escorted immediately to a smaller waiting area close to the eye examination room and told it would just be a few minutes as there was a patient in there. That was almost ninety minutes ago and while typing these words sisthepatient has been called in. Is it too early to cheer?

I can’t remember the last time I saw a nurse in any ER break a sweat or even appear to have that air of efficiency.  Everything and everybody is just way too relaxed.  The concerning part is that had this been a true emergency there would have been no one to do anything about it.

While we sat attentionless I did suggest that my sis should teach them a lesson and go blind in that eye while she sat here.  She was less than enthusiastic about that. But I am pretty sure it might have gotten us prompt attention.  

Actually in all fairness today is galloping along quickly.  A few weeks ago one chap I know who had a broken foot was here for twelve hours before a doctor saw him.  My friend is ninety-two and in that twelve hours he received no nutrition or fluids.  And he actually came in by ambulance which should have gotten him preferential treatment.

Customer Service…my eye…