Break Room

Nursing collectibles and the people who collect them


photo credit: William W. DuBois

Dolls, wine bottles, postcards…what do these items have in common? They’re all collectibles and valuable to someone. If an object comes in more than one size or one style, there’s a sure bet that someone collects them. This includes nursing paraphernalia.

While you may not be into collecting iron lungs, here are some nursing contraptions that have found their way into collectors’ showcases.


Is there such a thing as a bedpan collector? Nurses may not think of bedpans as works of art, but surprisingly, others do. Bill DuBois, photography professor at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and chair of visual media at RIT’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, is an avid collector of bedpans. According to the RIT website, DuBois bought his first bedpan in 1978 for 50 cents. “He used it for a planter, hanging it in a reception area near his office, only to have it stolen several weeks later,” the website says. DuBois has acquired bedpans for males and females from all over the world and has turned his collection into a photography exhibit. Apparently, DuBois is not the only one who collects bedpans. The American Association for the History of Nursing, Inc., lists bedpans as a nursing collectible.

Inhalers?!? –>

Marijke Durning
Marijke is a professional writer who began her working career as a registered nurse over 25 years ago. After working in clinical areas ranging from rehab to intensive care, as a floor nurse to a supervisor, she found she could combine her extensive health knowledge with her love of writing. Although she has been published in a wide variety of publications for professionals and the general public, her passion is writing for the every day person to promote health literacy.

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