As we finish our last week Nursing: The Future, we are shown that once again, collaboration is key! Specifically, the future’s success depends on a worldwide goal of data collection and sharing of knowledge and skills. We’ve seen that a surgeon in one country has been able to video “skype” instructional procedures to another doctor, across another continent, during a heart operation. We have been informed that nursing students learned by practicing on sim dummies at colleges and transferred their experiences to real world institutions. We heard that information infrastructure is discussed within the leadership manifesto of BSN training programs as being a critical component of the nursing professions’ future. Interweaving continuing education and working to one’s maximum education is the concept of “care team”. Mentoring has been brought up as a way to overcome generational differences and as a future nursing student, I’ll appreciate both the wisdom from pre-retiring instructors, as well as, the technological tips from the newly emerging instructors. I’d like to be a future leader in my field someday!
As time goes on we are now seeing the incredible opportunities that the nursing field present! We have been reminded that serving our country through the ROTC can lead to fulfilling careers with incredible life altering experiences. We have been made aware that RNs are still very much in demand and that there are huge opportunities if one wishes to TEACH advanced nursing programs, such as nurse practitioner training. And, as if in a dream, we have been exposed to the emerging technologies in the medical field that gives rise to the opportunity to blend innovation with the medical knowledge from our classic schooling. Tattooed colors that display our blood sugar levels, 3-D imagining that has lead to a 10-year functioning kidney, the ability to not just “fix” a medical problem in a less invasive way, but instead prevent a problem by using genomes, is exciting! We have the opportunity to see how robotics will help us within our field. Mind you, I did not say robotics should replace us. I believe that our field, nursing, should never be done without the “human touch”. Opportunity: I’m excited for myself, my cohorts, my teachers, my administration and for the field of medicine in and of itself…so excited!
In this era: 1970s, 80s and 90s, we learned of huge, innovative ways of implementing our craft of nursing for the benefit of the profession and of society. Hospice, life’s end nursing “treatment” of comfort without correction was introduced by Florence Wald in the 1970’s with the intention of helping one AND one’s family, make the adjustment to end of life. Careful consideration was observed as to locales, family reactions, and capacities for such care. Governmental mandates of hospital funding brought about stricter eligibility for institutional admissions and administrators found themselves short of qualified RN’s due to the immense loads piled on the short staffs created by governmental paybacks. Techniques such as medicine mixing and severity of clientele needs stressed the system and insurance agencies started seeing the privatization of health care costs become a much more competitive industry. The outcome has been that end of life measures are more advanced, RN’s are STILL in high demand and modern medicine delivery systems emerged. I have chosen to pursue higher nursing education, concentrating in gerontology and specializing in palliative care. This past week’s “reveals” have lit a new fire under me!
Continuing the study of nursing historical nursing insights, this week we’ve been exposed to more adaptations formed to cope with the pressures of nurse training. The Korean War had nurses scrounging among South Korean homes for makeshift medical supplies like rags for bandages. Long resupply intervals brought about the need for creative, “McGiver-like” adaptations compared to conventional wound treatments. Nurses in the Vietnamese War improvised around the bug-infested, muddied, shrapnel injuries to lower the mortality rate of the treated and evacuated to 2,6%. They did this by filling bags with stones to act as traction weights, using tubing on hand for drinking straws and using plastic bandaging for colostomy bags. In addition, the rules for the nurse trainees were morphing: logistics of married couples serving was considered. (Remember that in the 1920’s women had to be unmarried to serve.) Also, male nurses were being vetted as possible contributors to the profession! Adaptation equals survival. This is my takeaway; I’ll need to adapt to technology, rules, conditions, and patients’ family expectations and that’s a good thing.
The 1/3 of Americans unemployment rate during the 1929 Great Depression did not allude the nursing profession. Largely based around private care, the post graduate nurses found themselves seeking public hospital work. This was due to the fact that wealthy individuals had not been immune from the banking downfall and had to release their caregivers. Professional nurses found themselves doing nonprofessional tasks for a much larger pool of patients. Nurses took pay cuts and “snuck” food home to their families just to get by. Eventually, the government set up public programs that enlisted nurses in preventing communicable diseases, woman and child welfare leaderships positions and famine relief. Concurrently in Canada, nurse training took on specific asepsis techniques and scientific management that thrust trainees into ritualistic mannerisms, which helped them greatly as they emerged dignified, marketable and versatile. In 2008, our great country once again fell to its knees and those in the medical profession, including myself, stayed afloat by keeping focused, taking pay cuts, working jobs of two people and remaining positive. As hard as they were, The Great Depression and 2008 may have built a stronger healthcare community…at least that’s what I took from those times and I’m not going to be scared if that happens again!
This week we studied the time period 1900-1919 and it revealed some ways in which those that went through WWI survived the mental, physical and emotional stresses that they faced. Voluntary Aid Detachments, VAD’s, were under pressure as young girls, inexperienced, naive, underappreciated volunteers drawn out of their secure homes to serve on the fronts as helpers to professional nurses and doctors. Atrocities witnessed by one young gal lead to Verses of a VAD, a book of published poetry. At times, due to such a shortage of help, degrees in healthcare were awarded after only one month of training, which may have left one to much “on the job training”. Chaplins coped with their responsibilities by assigning the nurses to the roles of makeshift mothers and sisters in times of soldier’s funerals. Meanwhile, soldiers dug trenches and fought, ate and slept in them. Nurses set up nearby hospital tents and journaled their experiences, “Bosh(the enemy) fly nearer and nearer to us. Shrapnel flying around us, no one hurt even though a piece came through the tent.” Teamwork, tenacity, and creativity all helped this generation to cope with the war. Luckily, hopefully, I won’t have to face a war. Sometimes a war isn’t necessarily across the ocean though. Sometimes a war is right within the scope of the moment of treating a patient. In that case, I will call upon the exact same skills as my “forenurses”.
This week presented a plethora of predominant nurses and their parts in opening 492 nurse training schools by the turn of the century. The late 1800’s gave way to California schools forming east of San Francisco and the founding of CA Nurses Association thanks to Dr. Charlotte Amanda Blake Brown and her daughter, Dr. Adelaide Brown. The two doctors were popular, well respected and their teamwork created what would become Pacific Women and Children’s Hospital. On the east coast, nurse, Sophia Palmer set up nurse training schools in NY, DC, and MA. She was responsible for the legislation requiring nurses to be registered with their states, hence the new term, “RN”! Sophia Palmer was also the 1st editor of the American Journal of Nursing! What does this mean to me? It’s hard not to appreciate the escalation of responsibility that these women took on in the face of rapidly changing times. They championed a tidier, more organized image of what nursing was supposed to be and gave rise to a legitimate title of “RN”. I’m grateful and take with me the inspiration to “up my game” as they once did.
Did you know that Walt Whitman was a nurse?! Me neither! Whitman was diverse. Known for his most famous work, Leaves of Grass, a collection of poetry, Walt Whitman ensued compassionate caregiving at the age of 43, after visiting his brother, a vet in the war. The “diarrhea deaths” impacted him so much that it catapulted him into 7+ years of hospital work and along the way he continued to write. “The Wound Dresser” recants his experience, circa 1870, dealing with the visual atrocities that soldiers underwent. During this time in New England, three “Florence Nightengale principles” schools were shifting away from diversity. These consistent, structured, technical schools imposed stringent parameters that became models to create a more efficient nurse. Nursing was no longer diverse in its methodology of delivering education. I see how this will impact me. By learning proper procedures I will be a better care team member. Nurses can be diverse, like Walt Whitman, but the procedures should be uniform. I’d like to think that with the proper education I’ll be able to tackle the diverse situations that come my way!
This week we studied about the shifts in nursing that came about due to Florence Nightingale. She revolutionized hygiene practices directly related to the care of patients- a good change. She also manifested a better image of the modern day nurse., by creating a standard education for them. Many consolations were made in order for this to have happened. Her family’s predetermined notion that she would be an elite social hostess had to change, as did her fellow nurses’ ideas of Florence being a kind soul. She was the “Lady with the Lamp”, not the Lady with the compassionate heart. One of my cohorts remarked that it was a shame that Florence, with her unbreakable will to grasp the power that a man was entitled to, only chose to concentrate on nursing procedures. (What if she had focused on woman’s rights?! Only a speculation, but she wielded a lot of power, so another paradigm could have been formed concerning woman’s roles.) She was ahead of her time and not afraid of change. That’s inspiring! I can choose to go forth and be adaptive- change is good!
Wow! The pressure to formulate a WIKI Page insert is Huge! My pressure is nothing compared to the nurse of the past though. This week I learned of brave nurses that overcame slavery to live a long life of caregiving< In addition, I found out about the first asylum formed in Pennsylvania by the Quakers. They believed that to heal one must have their pressure alleviated through exposure to nature and sunlight. I agree and I use walking on the river with my dogs to relieve the pressures of pre nursing classes. Pressure is another component of nursing so it’s good to find one’s own way of dispelling it!