There is one profession that often gets overlooked when it comes to being credited for the heroic acts that are involved on a daily basis.
Nurses. We’ve all had to interact with them one way or another, whether we were the patient or one of our family members was. Regardless of what the patient is at the hospital for, a nurse is usually the first person a patient sees and sometimes, the only person the patient sees through their entire visit. Their jobs consist of a wide range of duties, some of which are considering menial and others which are heroic. They start out taking a patient’s vital signs, but that is just the start of what their job entails. They are often the main source of communication between the doctor or surgeon and the patient. And they are responsible for dealing with the patients’ families as well, which can be a very challenging and trying task. They are also usually the person who soothes the patient or “talks them down from the ledge,” when the patient is scared or nervous about an upcoming procedure. When it comes to labor and delivery, nurses do the majority of the baby delivering and they are there from the first contraction, until long after the baby makes his/her way into the world.
Now, if you think that nurses have it rough today, you’ll be shocked to see what duties they were required to do back in 1887. There were nine rules that nurses had to follow, in addition to dealing with the actual patients.
Each and every day that a nurse was on duty, they had to punch in at 7 am and they couldn’t leave until 8 am. That’s a long time on your feet!
Evidently, they were responsible for custodian duties as well and they had to sweep and dust the patients’ rooms, including the hard to reach places like the window sills.
Making picture perfect notes was on of nurses’ most important jobs, as they had to be sure that the physician could read it when he tended to the patients.
1. Believe it or not, nurses had the over the top requirement of having to bring in a scuttle of coal to each shift, to ensure that an even temperature was maintained.
2. The only time a nurse could be off was for courting purposed one evening each week. They were also allowed to attend church. And this only applied to graduate nurses in good standing.
3. In order to make sure there was an appropriate level of lighting in each patient’s room, the nurses had to fill kerosene lamps. clean chimneys, and trim wicks.
4. Nurses were urged to stash away 50% of their pay so they would have money to support themselves during their declining years, as to not be a burden to anyone.
5. It took five years for nurses to get a raise back in 1887, and if they were in good standing, they would get an additional five cents per day.
6. If a nurse smoked, used liquor, frequented dance halls, or got her hair done at the beauty salon, she was required to prove her integrity and worth to the Director of Nurses.
Sure makes today’s nursing requirement pale in comparison!