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!
It was August of 1999 and we were patiently awaiting the arrival of our niece. Brian’s birthday is the fourteenth and he just knew she would be born on his birthday. However, Sierra Chloe would make her arrival on the eighteenth instead. My sister had went into labor the night before and Andre’ came picked me up to go to the hospital. We stopped at the QT across from Hobby Lobby (it was Schnucks grocery store in 1999) to get coffee. When we came out Karen was pacing around the car during contractions. Sierra was born at 10:34 in the morning weighing in at five pounds and eleven ounces. Karen’s first comment was that she was so little and Dr. McCaffery offered to put her back for a week or two. I stayed until after they gave Sierra her bath in Karen’s room and then Andre’ took me home and went back to the hospital. It has been well said that Sierra looked like a monkey when she was born.
To live in our family, you have to be tough. We can be quite brutal at times. However Sierra would soon grow out of the ugly newborn into a beautiful young lady.
By the time Sierra was born, we had cable in our house and had stopped watching channel nine and were watching Nickelodeon. One of our favorite shows was The Rugrats. Sierra was well under a year old when she earned her nickname from Brian. He started calling her Finster for Chuckie Finster. Chuckie was a worry wart and a scaredy cat two features which Sierra exhibits to this day. If Kayla wanted to aggravate her she would start talking about tornadoes and pretending to hear the sirens. Sierra would go into a panic and Kayla would just laugh.
Sierra had reddish hair when she was younger and although she did not wear glasses she seemed to be afraid of everything including being outside. Beverly who lives down the street watched not only my girls but Sierra as well. I will never forget the day I drove by when she was sitting on a blanket crying her head off because she was outside. Beverly said she never stopped crying until they went inside and did this day after day. On Andre’s first fathers day I gave him a picture frame engraved with Daddy’s Girl and a picture of Chuckie Finster in it. After this she was stuck with the name forever.
Last week I went through old pictures looking for ones for this blog. I’m posting a few of my favorites.
It’s hard to believe that almost nineteen years have passed and Sierra has now graduated from high school. Even though Brian aggravates her constantly she still insists on hanging out our house. (After all he is the one touching her face with a fish, in the above picture.) She has been a joy to watch grow up. Her future plans are to attend South East Missouri State and study nursing.
Mole Moral ~ If you have a nickname from the Moles (no matter how ridiculous it may seem) it means we love you very very much. We love you Sierra and know you will do great things!
My mom gave Emily real pearls for obtaining her doctorate in physical therapy this past May. When Emily was little she would put on all of my moms necklaces and play dress up. When Emily joined a sorority her big sister bought her a string of not real pearls. (fake just sounds super cheap) and Emily wore them a lot in college. Always makes me think of June Cleaver from Leave it to Beaver fame. Because Emily had decided to do traveling Physical Therapy she left behind her pearls for me to put in the safe deposit box to keep them from getting lost or stolen. The box they came in sat on the ironing board for two months before I decided I would take them to the safety deposit box. This was around the end of August. I must confess I hate cleaning and swear on my death-bed I will not say I wish I kept my house cleaner. So I opened the box and they were not in there. I figured they were around the living room somewhere and I would find them eventually.
It is now December and I still have not found them. Emily has finally recovered from her fourth kidney stone and her first surgery to have one removed. So I bite the bullet last night and call her and tell her I cannot find them anywhere. She says you put them in the safe deposit box. I said no I did not and I just took everything out of it and brought it home to organize it. So she says they are in the special bag to keep them in and to look in her room on the computer desk. So I wander down there while I am talking to her and sure enough right there they sit. Now I had looked on and in the computer desk at least three times in the past trying to find the stupid things and yet now they are right there waving a flag that says hi you blind old lady.
Emily found the entire thing hilarious. Especially that I had been worrying for months that I had lost them and would have to try to secretly replace them. Except I couldn’t even do that because it wouldn’t be the ones my mom bought her. I should have just called her straight away and asked her instead of being my own worst enemy. As many times as I have lost my debit card and my credit card, I am not sure why she would entrust me not to lose her pears.
Mole Moral ~ The real question is; will the pearls make it to the safe deposit box before I misplace them again?