Nurses in scrubs and masks

Facts About Nurses Then and Now

Staff Writer
May 3, 2022

The nursing profession is constantly evolving. From scrub design to medication deliver, here are a few “then and now” facts about nursing brought to you by the nursing team at Joyce University.

Fact 1

Then: Nurses wore white from head to toe; this included a nurse’s cap, white stockings, and white shoes.

Now: We wear scrubs in a variety of patterns and colors and athletic shoes or clogs.

Fact 2

Then: Nursing notes were written by hand and used paper charts that used reams of paper.

Now: We utilize the electronic medical record (EMR) to record our nursing notes electronically.

Fact 3

Then: Nurses calculated the IV rates by timing the drops per minute into the IV tubing chamber.

Now: IV rates are entered by the nurse on an electronic pump device which calculates the drops per minute.

Fact 4

Then: Nurses paged physicians on the overhead speaker system quite frequently day and night.

Now: We text physicians on their phones or pagers…thank goodness!

Fact 5

Then: Nurses used “stock” medications for patients.

Now: Medications are bar coded for each specific patient.

Fact 6

Then: Nurses received items from pharmacy and central supply on the “dumb waiter” (small elevator system).

Now: We receive medications for patient via a “tube system” or electronically from a locked cart.

Fact 7

Then: Nurses monitored patients who were permitted to smoke in private rooms.

Now: No smoking is the norm in all healthcare organizations, extending from the building to the property area surrounding the building.

Fact 8

Then: Nurses cared for patients in “wards” or rooms with multiple beds.

Now: The norm is shifting to private rooms with private bathrooms for each patient.

Fact 9

Then: Nurses monitored strict visiting hours on most nursing units.

Now: Visiting hours are becoming “open” at many organizations with no time restrictions.



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