On this day thirty years ago I graduated from Deaconess College of Nursing with my diploma in nursing. So much has changed since then that it is almost impossible to believe. For starters there is only one diploma school left in the area and that is Lutheran School of Nursing. Every other program is either associate or bachelors in nursing. The diploma schools had the most clinical hours back in the day and were usually associated with hospitals. In other words free labor.
I recently looked at my scrapbook to figure out which day I graduated on. I was very surprised to discover I graduated on Uncle Larry’s birthday. I would have thought I would have remembered this but I guess this is why I scrapbook. Things you think you will remember forever you quickly forget.
I must say nursing school has not changed at all during this time. It is still the most stressful time in a person’s life. I swear they do everything they think of to get people to quit and weed out the weak. I mean if you even think about applying they start quoting wait lists and GPA’s and drop out rates. It is just ridiculous. I can honestly say I would never go through it again. One and done.
I thought I would list some of the changes over time. Please feel free to comment any others.
- All white with a nursing cap. Scrubs started around 1989 and the caps were gone by the time I started working at Deaconess
- No computers at all. All charts were paper and kept at the nurses station.
- Medication carts with narcotics on them. Now my friend Gena who works at a small hospital still has them. I haven’t carted one up and down the hall since 1990 when I went to the burn unit.
- Gloves were only for sterile procedures. You carefully cleaned up people and emptied foley catheters.
- It cost money to watch TV and there were only seven channels.
- Smoking occurred anywhere in the hospital. Patients were placed in rooms based on smoking preference.
- No scanning medications or automatic times placed in charts. Also the medication records were hand copied by night shift every four days.
- All pain medications were given IM. There was no IV push pain medication.
- Darvocet was not a narcotic. It no longer exits as it was taken off the market years ago.
- Two nurses had to count narcotics at shift change. No one could leave until the count was right. If you forgot to sign out a narcotic it held up everything.
- LPN’s were phased out of mercy at least five or more years ago.
- There were no twelve-hour shifts.
- There was no straight day shift. You could work straight evenings or straight nights but days were rotated with either evenings or nights.
- People were admitted the night before for tests now done outpatient such as cardiac cath, upper and lower gi, stress test, etc.
- Nursing boards were a two-day event with a six-week wait for results. Small envelope you passed, big envelope you failed and they were only offered two times a year.
I know I am forgetting so many things but there are many others I will always remember.
- My first patient that passed away.
- My preceptor, Lisa from my first job.
- My ten years in the burn unit including my first really critical burn.
- How hard nursing school was.
- How I learned to never date a patient the scary hard way.
- Why I transferred to Women’s Health.
- Being pregnant and vomiting in the trash can during a feeding tube insertion.
- Taking care of my first Christmas Angel.
- Leaving a code to go the bathroom to avoid peeing in my pants.
- The class I had to take to learn how to use a computer mouse.
Mole Moral ~ As I look at my picture I think dang I had a nice figure and yet if you would have asked me back then I would have told you I was fat. My body image disturbance isn’t just a nursing diagnosis, it’s a reality!