Thursday, 21 August 2008


As nothing exciting is happening in my life right now, I've pinched this from the blog I used to do over on AOL before I came here

"When I was young in the late '60s.........." - if I was an 18 year old now I would cringe at those words. But I don't care, I'm going to carry on anyway!

1968/69 I was a student nurse and do you know, try as I might, I can't think of a single example of an unhygienic practice then. Each hospital ward had a regular domestic assigned to it who was there every day and there was another regular one who covered her day off. For the whole of her shift she was busy with cleaning the ward, toilets, public areas. Even rooms that were only used occasionally werethoroughly cleaned at least every other day.

The floor was damp mopped several times a day and all floors were asclear as possible so this could be done. Window ledges and frames were regularly gone over, and the curtain rails around beds damp dusted. There was no dry dusting.

First year students (such as me) also had to do cleaning jobs. Each morning a student would be assigned to cleaning locker tops and bed tables "...and don't take all day about it". That didn't mean carrying a mucky cloth from bed to bed, it meant a bowl of hot soapy water and lysol (gloves provided!), on a trolley, tidying away things from locker tops and washing them down. Same with tables. This all had to be done very quickly and you had to let the bed making nurses (first years again) get a start on you as there was no point cleaning things if the germy old beds hadn't been done yet!

There would be no vases of dead flowers because that was one of night staff's jobs. They took flowers out of the ward at night. I can't think where they put them but one of a junior Night Nurse's tasks would be gettiing rid of dead flowers.

Why was it all done? Not MRSA orC-diff. certainly. I never heard of those. No, it was scarier than that: Matron's Rounds.

Matron never had a set route for her ward round so it could be as early as 10am. Might ot be, but it had to be all done by then, just in case. Our Matron used to put on little white gloves to check for dust and woe betide if your bit made her gloves dirty! She had something a bit regal about her and she filled us with dread. All patients had to be in bed: none of this slouching around in chairs. They could do jigsaws r read a book but no newspapers before Matron decended bcause they made the sheets grubby!

When someone went home - or died - the bed was dealt with the instant they were out of the door. The bedding - all of it - was put straight into a linen trolley and removed from the ward immediately. The entire bedframe and the rubber matress cover were thoroughly scrubbed with hot water and lysol. The locker was washed out and stood open to dry. Then, when the bed was dry, it was freshly made up again. Nurses did those things. It was never left until later and not up for discussion.

None of ot was any big deal to us then. It's what was done; part of our training. There was much more than this, of course there was, but these things were absolutely basic, fundamental parts of getting Mr. Patient in and ot without him catching anything he didn't come in with. It was so easy.

What went wrong?


Raquel said...

I would say beaurocracy and sue-happy folks! It has been my experience that the people who make the rules about things people do have very little experience themselves in doing those things. I know when I used to work at a convenience store, about once every 2 months they would change how we did something (to supposedly save money or some other such bunk). Glad you are posting again, missed you so much! Much love, Raquel XO

Marie said...

Angie, it is so good to see you posting again. I remember this post from your other journal and I loved it and still do. You make me laugh, lol, Matron's rounds! My daughter is a nurse and I think there is so much bureaucratic red tape today, quotas and targets, it really makes things difficult for them. IN the old days there was no such thing . . . people got sick and you cared for them. Cleaners cleaned and they did a good job because back then people had pride in themselves and in their work. Love you lots! XXOO

Grammy Staffy said...

I wonder too??? I remember when teachers were respected and looked up to instead of argued with and defied. I remember when nurses could take time with a patient and not have to rush from bed to bed with no time for conversation. I remember when you could stay in the hospital several days after a surgery until you felt strong enough to be up and around... now you are sent home a few hours after you wake up whether you can hold your head up or not.

What happened?

I hope that you are feeling better every day.

Shaggy said...

Hi angy I agree with every word here .I have of couse read this posting before when you were with AOL.I hope you are feeling much better.Please Take Care and God Bless Kath.