Being a nurse in 1967 vs 2017

When older nurses say new nurses have it easy, they aren’t kidding. In fact, newer nurses don’t know what nurses in the ‘60s had to deal with that nurse in the new century take for granted.

However, nurses that practice now do have unique challenges, but they may not understand how difficult it was to operate in a time when even the most basic things were unheard of.

Here is a look at some of the easy, convenience items that nurses in 1967 didn’t have that are so common in 2017 that they are ignored. The next time you encounter them, take a moment to think about what it would be like to do without them.

No plastic

The nurse in 1967 had to deal with no plastic. This had far ranging implications, because even though some things may have been plastic, the vast majority of items were not.

This means that bedpans, IV catheters, IV bags, and so on were either glass or metal. Of course, they were also reusable.

Autoclaves were then a large part of the machinery that a nurse came in contact with, especially when it came to bedpans. A nurse would have to clean and autoclave a bedpan to use it again for the same or different patient.

Of course, this is not only inconvenient, but a huge infection control problem. Gloves, being a plastic based product, were not commonly used, and handwashing was paramount – as it should be today.

Sicker patients

Nurses now have to deal with sicker patients, and this is because the patients alive now would have died in 1967. ACLS and CPR were only in their infancy at this time, and people would not survive massive heart attacks or strokes.

As a result, nurses in 1967 didn’t deal with patients as sick as the patients are now. However, they didn’t have the training that nurses do now, and they weren’t expected to make the decisions that nurses do now.

They were responsible, though. They were still nurses, and they knew how to care for a patient going south. In no way was their job easier. They just took care of patients that where less critical than the patients alive now.

No computers

Not having computers may be a blessing or a curse, depending on your perspective. On the whole, the do make nursing easier because you do not have to write out your notes by hand.

Nurses in 1967 didn’t have computers to rely on for charting, lab results, or orders. Everything was done by paper, and that made things confusing at times.

This meant that errors were easy to commit if everyone wasn’t careful. Not that computers make that easier, but it is less likely.

Without computers, nurses in the 20th century had to work harder, and some nurses now may take their terminal for granted. It makes it easier to care for patients, to get charting done, and to communicate with other healthcare providers.

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