Ah, the good ole days in nursing that many of us old nurses still remember. For several reasons many of the nursing skills we practiced in days gone by are a distant memory. Some of them were darn right scary, but others are still favored by many of the more seasoned nurses, even if we can't practice them any longer, because of policy changes and safety reasons. But there's no law against talking about them, right? Here are several examples of old time nursing that may get your nostalgic memories flowing again:
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Yeah, while that may be true for kids toys and hospital gowns it's not okay for urinary catheters and syringes. While this sounds absolutely disgusting in today's sanitary world, it was common practice not so long ago. The syringes and catheters were sterilized between uses and the reason this practice was discontinued was not because of sterility reasons, but because disposable replacements became much less expensive, so they became a more attractive substitute for reusables.
Count those drops
Ask any old seasoned nurse like myself and they'll all tell you that they remember having to count the drips and adjust I.V's manually. The reason for this was because, believe it or not, there was once a time when I.V pumps didn't exist. We had to calculate every medication my hand and count the drips and adjust the flow to the correct dosage. Seems crazy now. You young 'uns have it made.
Write it down
I'm from the days when nurses had to write everything on paper. There was no such thing as electronic charting and sadly, many of the older nurses had to quit nursing altogether when electronic charting first began because they were pretty computer illiterate and felt they were too old to learn. We lost a lot of great nurses that way. But I have to say that electronic charting is definitely a better option once you get through the learning curve. It leaves a lot less room for error and can be accessed by any member of the medical team.
Yes, this practice was very common when I was a young nurse. When I worked in the operating room we were taught that we must remove hair prior to surgery with a razor and shave as closely as possible. This practice was believed to reduce infection. Further research has proven this theory wrong. Shaving actually increases the risk of infection. Not good in a surgical setting. Now, nurses use a shaver to remove the hair, so it doesn't damage the integrity of the skin, increasing risk of infection.
Crazy CHF Treatment
It's hard to believe that we used to use tourniquets on each leg for patients with congestive heart failure. This controlled venous return to the heart lessening the stress. It was minimally effective. We now have diuretics for this treatment that are a much better option.
Do you feel me?
It's normal practice to obtain a patient's blood pressure with a blood pressure cuff and sphygmomanometer, or digital cuff. But way back in my day, to take a blood pressure we didn't have such luxuries. Instead, it was necessary to inflate and deflate the blood pressure cuff while palpating for the radial pulse to appear and disappear.
Dipsticks for insulin
Before there were glucose meters we had to have a way to measure glucose levels and give insulin on a Sliding-scale. We used the dipstick in the patient's urine. It was messy and inconvenient. Glucose monitors are awesome.
You give me fever!
The sight of a mercury thermometer makes my cringe these days because mercury is so dangerous. It seems to strange that it used to be so common to stand and shake a thermometer so all the mercury would go to the bottom and not stick to the edges, it was the only way to get an accurate reading.
Cut the cath
To remove a foley catheter it was normal practice to cut the catheter first. The practice is frowned upon now although you may still see some old school physicians and nurses cut before removal. This idea is a bit dangerous because the tension on the catheter can cause the end still left in the patient to retract into the patient's bladder...not good. Also, if the balloon doesn't deflate then you have another set of troublesome and costly problems.
Carbonate the NG tube
While most nurses these days use water to flush NG tubes, it was quite common to use Coca-Cola way back when. The Coke was acidic and seemed to be more effective. But it damaged the integrity of the tubing, so, in the long run, it wasn't a good option. Always check with your facilities protocol before doing any procedure.
Do you remember any old school nursing practices that you would like to tell us about? Comment now!