I came across a list of “Nurses Duties” from 1887:
- Daily sweep and mop the floors of your ward; dust the patient’s furniture and window sills.
- Maintain an even temperature in your ward by bringing in a scuttle of coal for the day’s business.
- Each day fill the kerosene lamps, clean chimneys, and trim wicks. Wash the windows once a week.
- Nurse’s notes are important to the physician. Make your pens carefully; you may whittle nibs to your individual taste.
- Each nurse on day duty will report at 7:00 a.m. and leave at 8:00 p.m. except on the Sabbath, in which you will be off from 12 noon to 2 p.m.
- Graduate nurses in good standing will be given an evening off each week for courting purposes or two evenings a week if you go to church regularly.
- Each nurse should lay aside from each payday a goodly sum of her earnings for her benefits during her declining years so she will not become a burden.
- Any nurse who smokes, uses liquor, gets her hair done, or frequents dance halls will give the director of nurses good reason to suspect her worth, intentions, and integrity.
- The nurse who performs her labors and serves her patients and doctors faithfully and without fault for a period of five years will be given an increase of five cents a day, provided there are no hospital debts that are outstanding.
This was all in addition to caring for 50 patients. All I can say is wow! Anyone glad there have been some changes since 1887? Times do change—expectations, salaries, etc., but some things have no business changing, like personal integrity, wholesome thoughts and words, commitment, and love for family. I’m talking about character. Is that in short supply today? Do we expect it of others, but not of ourselves?
It took real dedication to be a nurse in 1887. What does it take to be who God has called you to be in 2022?