Sunday, March 24, 2013

Intro to Confessions of an Old Nurse

I don't think I've mentioned this at all on my blog before!
I'm a retired RN who worked in nursing for about 20 years.
I have lots of stories.
My memory isn't so hot.  (My sister thinks it's from when I got hit in the head with a golf ball and lost my eye.  I had a concussion too.
However if I think about things awhile I seem to be able to come up with story after story.
So I will begin to share some with you.
Some are funny, some are shocking and of course there's plenty of sad ones but I'm going to try and keep my storys light.
Nurses have a way of dealing with the horrible things by making light of them, joking among themselves and disconnecting our feelings most of the times.
Just like cops, you can't take this stuff home with you or you'll burn out in a flash.
(My husband, Jack, was a cop)

I always wanted to be a nurse, from when I was little.  I used to play nurse all the time.  There was no question or decision I had to make about my career
Here I am as a new graduate!
I had no idea what the real world of nursing was all about!!

I went to nursing school at Huron Road Hospital School of Nursing in Cleveland, OH
It was associated with Fenn College (now Cleveland State) so I also got an associate degree in Psychology.  (Which I would certainly need down the line for my first marriage!!)

Here's a picture of my roommate in the dorm.  Her name was Dolores Hejduk.  I wish I could find her.
I put this on to show you our student uniforms.  We wore the heavily starched white aprons when we worked on the floors.  I remember folding the back flaps of the apron over your lap to sit down so you wouldn't wrinkle them.

This is a photo of one of our classes. (from 1960)
I don't see myself here so maybe I was in the next class.
It was kind of scary seeing this picture of Miss Woodruff, one of the instructors.  She wasn't the scariest though, that honor went to Miss Krebs!!
Miss Krebs was a big woman.  Not overweight, just big and tall!  Once we got to "work on the floors" as students, she would hid and lurk around every corner watching you for any mistakes.
I remember two instances with Miss Krebs.
One, I was going into a patient's bathroom which had a swinging door, to empty a full bedpan.  The clean bedpans were hung on the wall behind the door.  I swung open the door and heard this huge crash.  Miss Krebs had been lurking behind the door and I pinned her up against the bedpans. 
I don't remember what grade I got for that day!!!
The second story of Miss Krebs and me was the day I had to first shave a woman for surgery.
She was having an abdominal hysterectomy.  (No scopes back then)
And yes we shaved patients from stem to stern!  From mid chest to . . . well you know where!
(And we used single blade razors!)
I was halfway through the shaving when I cut MY finger.  I was bleeding and grabbed a washcloth.  Now the wash cloth is getting saturated when MISS KREBS walked in!!  She probably thought I had cut the patient.  She surveyed the situation, gave me "that look" and handed me a couple bandaids.
I continued.
Poor patient!  That must have instilled a lot of confidence, especially keeping in mind where I had to shave!!

Oh one more thing I remember.
My very first patient, as a complete new-be as a student nurse was a doctor!!!!!
Like I didn't have enough to scare the tar out of me!
He turned out to be really nice to the students though. 

That's it for now but they'll be a lot of stories coming about my real working days.
Keep tuned in.

Any nurses out there?  I'd love to hear from you.



  1. Oh, I understand this Shirley. I am a RN. I only worked around 5 years, then my husband found a way to keep me home with the boys. Which was such a good decision. Nursing was a tough career. I saw a lot in 5 years. I also was so innocent to what the real world was about. :)

  2. Shirley, though i'm not a nurse, i've enjoyed reading your story!

  3. LOL! Cutting yourself and not the patient shows the dedication and commitment you had to be a nurse...when I saw that first pic of you, it is so you!!?..:)JP

  4. That was a great story! Although not a nurse, I worked in a hospital for over 4 years and have such a huge admiration for them. It always made me laugh to hear them discussing what they should order for lunch while, at the same time, changing the diaper of an adults first morning poop. If I were a nurse I think I'd be skin and bones!

  5. Thanks for sharing! Yes, 33 years here! I never wanted to do anything else, and yes I have new stories every week! Humor gets us all through. Lately we just keep saying "you just can't make this stuff up!"
    Great pic of you in uniform. I remember looking at what caps a school had to make my decision, luckily mine looks similar to yours. Now they do not have caps for schools...


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