Thursday, February 12, 2015

An 1887 Rule Book for Nurses-- Has Anything Changed?

Recently, I was tagged on FB for a blog post entitled A List of Rules for Nurses . . . From 1887

To me, it's interesting that some things haven't changed in over 100 years.

The first several rules are about keeping the ward clean, warm and bright! I'm glad I'm not mostly responsible for sweeping and mopping floors, bringing in coal, and filling kerosene lamps. However, in the ER, it just might surprise you how much of the room the nursing staff overturns just to keep the patients flowing through the unit. 

In some ways, nurses in 1887 might have had it marginally better. They still worked 12 hours shifts but got time off on Sunday for the Sabbath from 12pm-2pm. I doubt my nurse manager would approve anything of the sort if I was working a Sunday shift. Should I ask? 

One of the rules reads: "Any nurse who smokes, uses liquor in any form, gets her hair done at the beauty shop or frequents dance halls will give the director of nurses good reason to suspect her worth, intentions and integrity."

Honestly, I don't know if this standard has changed-- simply morphed. 

Let's take the action of a hospital to not hire smokers. Or the case of this nurse getting fired for posting a photo of an empty but recently used trauma room (even though it was a repost from a doctor's Instagram account and he was not fired.) Even today, nurses have to be very careful about what they post to social media-- it can be detrimental to your job.

What do you think? Are nurses better off today than one hundred years ago?   


  1. It's been almost 10 years since I left nursing so I might not be the most up to date on these things but...I was always glad for techs so I didn't have to do the sweeping, cleaning, keeping supplies stocked, etc that nurses in 1887 had to do. Some of the rules were funny, like an evening off for courting purposes? and can't get your hair done in a beauty shop? However, I think a nurse OR a doctor who posted that photo of the trauma room with an insensitive hastag ("man vs 6 train") should be reprimanded, although I don't think they should be fired.

    1. Lis,

      It still surprises me how differently doctors and nurses are treated. I'm left handed and I'll be the first to admit that my writing is challenging to read which is why I mostly print-- and even then it's a little interesting.

      I was about 1.5 years into nursing when I was told that my handwriting was difficult to read and I needed to change it. This actually became a "counseling" issue. Never, ever heard about that happening to a physician.