Top 10 ways to spot the “old school” nurse

iStock | Stokkete
iStock | Stokkete

We sometimes hear a nurse referred to as “old school.” I take that to mean “in practice before the 1980s,” because that’s when I started!

I’m not here to stereotype or anything (and this list is made with love and respect), but I’ve gotta tell you, I’ve found certain things to be true about nurses who’ve been in the profession for, well, a while.

Here are a few observations that may help define the old school nurse! Is this you?

The old school nurse:

1. Still wears her hair ABOVE the collar at work.
2. Knows how to use a bath blanket and still prefers soap and water to body cleanser wipes.
3. Owns a case of white leather shoe polish for a VERY distinctive pair of lace-up nursing shoes.

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Nurse Rene

Nurse Rene has been an RN since 1978; CCRN since 1989 and attained a BSN in 2010. She has worked in virtually every specialty from Neonatology to Neurosurgery and is a Member of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society with a particular interest in helping students and new grads develop to their full potential. She's been married for 33 years and has a keen interest in history and in current issues as nursing continues to develop as a Real Profession. When not spoiling the grandchildren, she enjoys sewing, cooking, kayaking, camping and travel. She likes all music which does not hurt her ears, watching NCIS, Leverage, Top Gear and Criminal Minds and reads books written by Clive Cussler, Miss Manners, Erma Bombeck and Tom Clancy. She enjoys collecting Quotations for use in her writings.

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97 Responses to Top 10 ways to spot the “old school” nurse

  1. carol anne reese

    still likes to wear her nurse graduation pin!!

  2. PatriceMarie

    A box of gloves–if you even had access to the–lasted at least a year.

  3. Rudy311

    I Like your list and can relate to many of these,but I didn’t realize # 10 was old school, I believe it’s still a calling,

    • Nurse Rene RN

      Actually that was a question that the professor put to the class in one of my online Advanced Nursing courses.
      Obviously, I STILL believe that it is a ‘calling’.
      ‘Coincidence’ to me is simply God acting anonymously.

  4. Abby Student

    I’m just starting school now and I was wondering how many of the other students were actually going to follow the hair above the collar rule. I, personally have very short hair, but it will be interesting to see how they go about enforcing that rule

    • Disanamcara RN

      We used to have inspection before clinical. Shoes polished, uniform pressed, nails short & clean, watch & wedding band if plain & small stud earrings only, hair up off collar… no exceptions.

      • Molly Stokes RN

        We weren’t allowed to get married when we were in Nursing School. Only jewelry was a watch. No earrings, etc. I still make hospital bed corners and put the pillow in the case without touching it to my body. We were on-call for both surgery AND OB rotation even if we had clinicals the next day. BUT, I know what a ruptured appendix smells like and what a healthy liver feels like. I graduated in 1965.

    • OH-nurse

      “Hair above the collar” isn’t a rule. It used to be a standard of professionalism, but it is also a safety issue. Hair hanging down or in a pony tail can be used as a weapon against you. Also, do you really want your hair to catch vomitus or other bodily fluids? Think about it.

  5. Pamela Rossano RN

    You never ever throw anything on the floor especially linen>
    Wen putting a pillowcase on the pillow the open end faces away from the door. to keep TB at bay. You always cover the wheelchair with a sheet and a pt’s legs are always covered with a blanket so no skin ever ever shows.

    • Elizabeth Tritz

      OMG…one of my biggest pet peeves. I have been a nurse 36 years. I was always taught COVER your patients! I can’t count the number of times I see co-workers with their patients in w/c or on a gurney, no sheet or blanket. Open for the world to see, everything hanging out. And, yes, I was always taught to place a sheet on the w/c it self before the patient sits in it. I don’t see anyone do that anymore. I call them out on it. How would you like your family member going down the hall exposed!!!! It only takes a moment to put the patient first!! I can answer yes to several of these! My daughter is a nurse now, 4yrs. I tell her every patient is someone’s mom, sist er, daughter, aunt grandmother, dad, brother, uncle, grandfather. Remember that and treat them with dignity and respect. It doesn’t matter how they treat you or if they or rich, poor, homeless. You do that and you will be rewarded in your heart with a filling job you love! I still love my job after all these years!

  6. nursemary7 RN

    I graduated in 2010 and do some of these things lol! I was a nursing assistant first so number 2 is very true! I hate the wipes. and 7-8 and 10.

  7. tl.mcnatt APN

    Only has white underwear. No colors or designs to show through that white uniform.

    • Disanamcara RN

      Ahh, yes! Also knows what an orange stick is and how to use it.

  8. Smithteamracing RN

    An old school nurse believes patient care comes before documentation.

  9. nurse rob

    I have also been a professional Registered Nurse since 1978. I have never worn a cap, men dont. I do not have, and have never had, white shoes.
    I wear my Training Hospital and Registration Badges.
    No one ever would dare use blue ink, on my watch. (Black, is a national standard).
    Don’t ever call me a Male Nurse. I had my gender, before I had my vocation. You may call me “Mister” in stead of “Sister”.
    “It takes a real man to be a Nurse.”
    I am old school and proud of it. A Nurse is what I am, not what I do.

    • Nurse Antoinette

      Chillax. That’s kinda strange that you never had to wear/buy white shoes. What did they give you shoes covers when you were in clinicals ?

    • OH-nurse

      “(Black is a national standard)” The standard is changing per CMS guidelines to blue ink so that original documentation can be differentiated from photo copies (on hard copy paperwork). Obviously, this doesn’t apply to computerized charting.

  10. sharilu

    Still believes a backrub and a “tuck in” is better for a patient at bedtime than a sleeping pill.

    Believes the patient and their familes often are more knowledgeable about the patient’s problems than the Dr. who spent 5 minutes with them is.

    Believes that if a patient thinks the pill you are giving them might be the wrong one you better recheck the order.

    • 77grad

      any time a pt says to me he doesn’t recognize a pill i always double-check the orders. and prior to giving any IM/IV injection I double check for known allergies (whether or not the pt has an allergy bracelet on).

      • oldschoolnurse

        Greatly and happily retired. I miss seeing “nursing care”. These days nurses keep records, report on computers and don’t have the time and sometimes the inclination to do those things that the old folks did. When we were walking down the hall and came to a door with a doctor, we opened it. I never gave it a second thought. I am happy that has changed. I’m sad that hands on nursing has to be with gloves. I’ve taken care of patients with syphilis, AIDS and just about any other disease you can name. Fortunately I knew to wash my hands when I left the room. At times it was necessary and is necessary to wear gloves, but the touch of skin is so much more comforting than the touch of latex. I have a great deal of respect for any nurse that has put in years of service in any department. Thank you and please take care of me if we meet.

    • facebook_user_1202677976426490

      I agree with you Sharilu !

  11. bjhans

    I would not dream of working without a uniform with multiple pockets for alcohol swabs, bandage scissors, a roll of tape. Always carry a really good stethoscope not one of those flimsy nurse stethoscope and mark it well because the doctors will walk off with it.Have been known to write something really important on the inside hem of my uniform. Never call anyone honey or sweetie, Offer your seat to a doctor, Try to teach each person something about their health and well being. I graduated 50 years ago.

    • Aoife Dunne

      Never would I offer my seat to a doctor,if I’m just sitting down then yes I will if the doctor needs to write notes etc but never if I was busy writing notes etc,why should many ways I’m old school even though a newly graduate,but I don’t put doctors on a pedestal!

      • MrsShippy

        Back in the stone age, you didn’t have a choice: you stood when a doc came into the station and you gave up your seat without him asking. Either you did this or you got written up. Two write-ups and you were fired. So, tell, me, what would you do? Its easy to say, “I’d never” when you’re never confronted with the situation.


          We were to offer the doctor our seat and a cup of coffee. It was being called be respectful and courteous.

      • jeanniewrn

        Giving your seat up to a doctor isn’t putting them on a pedestal, it is showing respect!

  12. Sfsd2

    Still wears support hose,even if now they are knee hi under scrubs. Got to save those legs.

  13. rnsurgery

    Old School Nurses had to have 3 pens. Blue/Black, Green and Red inks. Blue/Black was used for 7a-3p, Green was used for 3p-11p and Red was used for 11p-7a documentation.

    • William

      I too remember those three colors. That was the standard until most nurses wanted 12 hour shifts so it became impractical to use three colors anymore. It made total sense though……. there was no question about what shift the notes were made … things are so different now and I’m not so sure that the patient benefits as much today as when nurses from the “old school” cared for them. It’s probably documented better but as far as hands on care, forget it. Documentation is the primary goal now. Not matter about the patient’s condition; it has to be documented in a protective fashion.


        I still buy those four color ink pens.

      • mapickle

        The change from blue/green/red ink to blue/black had nothing to do with 8 hr vs 12 hour shifts – green ink does not copy or microfilm.

  14. bonnie51

    Nursing is a calling. As we are facing a nursing shortage, this situation does not mean just anyone can be a nurse.

  15. Srqnurse

    Turning the pillow cases open side away from door, these have brought back many memories and many things I still do today…lol

  16. Srqnurse

    Oh yes, I recently asked a newer nurse to please grab me a bath blanket and she said a WHAT…. So we asked a few others and only old school nurses new it was a bath blanket…lol

    • Amanda Linfield

      I just graduated this May and I know what a bath blanket is :) and yes, we are taught “if you didn’t document it, you didn’t do it”!

  17. Trish

    Remembers to prep a patient for surgery, you needed laparotomy boots, cover for head that was pinned in place, remove nail polish and lipstick, tie rings in place with gauze.

  18. MuggleRN

    I’m pretty old school – even though I didn’t start practicing until 1992. I rarely work the floor any more, but when I’m out there…hair up, uniform ironed (even scrubs), and nursing shoes never sneakers… my book we are professionals and should look the part even when we are elbows deep in body fluid and other questionable substances.

  19. William

    Patient care is totally lost now. The days of back rubs and actually patient contact have mostly gone by the wayside. Such a shame that nurses have become glorified secretaries. Most nurses don’t want to be caught in a uniform anymore……God forbid that they should look like a real nurse now. So many nurses today have very little patient contact . They just want to make sure to get those letters after their name. That is the goal rather than actually having contact with a ailing person that needs that special touch, a rub down, a conversation. Gone are those days. So sad. The “calling” today amounts to status and $$’s rather than concern for the sick. I trained in a Catholic hospital and the patients got unbelievable care. I surely miss those days of “old school” nursing. Degrees are fine but something was lost when the focus went to the title rather than sincere patient concern.

    • Amanda Linfield

      You sound very discouraged. Maybe it would cheer you up to hear that in my province there is an initiative from the nurses union for all RNs to wear black and white only to be easily identified. And as a new nurse I try to always give a back wash and lotion with bedtime care whenever it’s at all possible. If I was just doing this for the money they would have to pay way more because it wouldn’t be worth it. I believe the majority of nurses still do it because they care for the patients. I hope you meet some good ones soon :)

    • andibean

      It makes me sad to read this comment. I do not know where you work or what your experience has been, but my coworkers and I all provide hands on nursing care to our patients, and we dread the never ending documentation that goes with that hands on nursing care. I am also not paid enough to be doing this work “just for the money”. Nursing is truly a calling, we are over worked, under paid, under appreciated, treated poorly, down right abused at times, and we show up for our next shift with a mail and a prayer that no one causes you any “extra” paperwork, you hope for a bathroom break and possibly a break long enough to shove something of nutritional value down your throat and that you may finish charting and go home at a decent hour. This is definitely not a job where you are compensated adequately. Our dedication to promoting health and awareness, education for ourselves and our patients, working together to have great outcomes does not come from our crap salary. We do our jobs because it is a calling for us, we love helping others, and most of us will even help those in need when we are off the clock. It sounds like you have lost your passion for our calling. I challenge you to find it again. Try a new job within your nursing knowledge, perhaps even change your place of employment, go back to school to advance your nursing degree. I hope you can find joy again in our calling, and I wish you well in whatever it is you decide to do.

    • nursingforever71

      That is why I am doing sacral dressings to patients when they are discharged into my Nursing Service!!!!! No more pressure are care or repositioning 2- 4 hourly!!!!

  20. Clairzcat

    “Girls with dirty shoe laces have dirty underwear” 1972.

  21. Good_Ole_Flo78

    1980. I still have my cap. I still wear my pin. I still wear support WHITE hose under my scrubs. No nail polish or nails. I still will look the other way if it benefits the patient. I believe in back rubs and a good neat no wrinkle bed. Bath blankets are useful. I despise those stupid wipes.

    We charted Blue/black for days, brown (yes brown-a regional thing) and red for nights. We dumped the trash and tidied up the room. Fresh water for the next shift. NO URINALS on the bedside stand!

  22. Nurse andy

    Still believes only females are nurse and needs to change ‘her’ attitude

  23. kjs

    I would like to know where this picture was taken. The nurse in the middle looks just like my mom and this was her nursing era. Trying to figure out if that is her.

    • ShariDCST

      Hello KJS! I saw your question regarding the source of the photo at the top of the page, and I knew in my lengthy research into “old school nursing training” that I had seen that image in black and white somewhere! But it didn’t take me too long to locate it, using some Google search techniques. If you go here ~

      you will find the photo from this nursing school a little way down the page.
      Hope it’s what you’re looking for!
      Best Regards…..

  24. SisterJen

    Always have scissors and sticky-tape in your pocket.
    If it’s your task, you do it.
    Before gloves became standard, we washed our hands, and washed our hands, and washed our hands.
    If working at the desk, stand up when the Senior Sister or Consultant walks into the room.
    If a buzzer goes, you answer it.
    Don’t flap the linen (or anything else): it causes air turbulence and spreads bacteria.
    I loved the smell of the Ethereal Soap we used to clean the beds after a patient was discharged.

    • nursingforever71

      That was my era ,I still do these things at all times.I now work as a Community Nurse Superviser 2 days a week.Love the interaction with the patients or clients.

  25. Stlnancy

    My mother kept her cap, pin, and favorite pen together in a clear plastic bag on her shelf until the day she died at 89! I’m a recent grad and find that my educational experience was much like the descriptions above but my hospital experience has been much different.

  26. OBMamaV

    Being old school means that patient care ALWAYS comes first- before charting or billing and coding or even core measures! The core measure IS the patient!

  27. nurseBim

    I graduated in 2010, and everything I’ve read in this article are everything we were required to do back in college. Our student nurse uniforms are just like that one in the picture, and yes, even if I’m only 24, I make it a point to keep my duty shoes clean, and I wear my hair above the collar.

  28. lynnrn

    So thankful I missed the smoking at the nurses desk era!

    • onlyme

      Hard to think of it now! but years ago smoking didn’t use to be such an issue.

  29. andibean

    I have only been a nurse now for 9 years, hardly a senior, but I have already seen many changes in the way we practice care. I agree with others that documentation is killing the hands on nursing. I enjoy my more senior nurses and learning from their experiences, and I have found, that they enjoy my knowledge of the computer and help them navigate through the nightmare of electronic charts. In my “era” black ink in charts, red ink to more and verify orders and blue ink used in ER documentation to differentiate between an original and a copy, but now I only use a pen for handwritten notes to remember what to document. There will be many more changes in our calling over the next few years that even the new nurse will have “back in the ol days” stories.

  30. nursingforever71

    I have been a nurse since the 60s an RN since 1978 .I do most of these things through habit !!!!!eg polish shoes,wear badge proudly,make all beds with hospital corners ,only wear 1 ring ,no other jewelly,aiways carry extra pens……54 yrs this year….love my work always wanted to be a nurse!!!!

  31. Kathy g

    Knows what a 3 H enema is– and how to give it!

    • mapickle

      and can do a “milk and molasses” enema is needed as well.

  32. Martha Newman

    I have been a nurse for 43 years–I was a product of a 3-yr hospital training school from which I received a diploma and I retired after 36 yrs as a Pediatric nurse but now work PRN/Per Diem in an adult med-surg unit in a general hospital, so I think I have bona fide credentials as “Old School,” but I am only guilty of two on your list: Nos. 9 and 10 (#1 if you split hairs since I wear my hair in a pixie cut). I pride myself on keeping current with social media, popular technology, and the prevailing zeitgeist and I do whatever I can to motivate my contemporaries to embrace the same. Fear of change and fear of technology is, quite simply, stasis–and that is a deadly disease.

  33. Gina Loyd

    I still stuff the pillows well and put the open end away from the door.

  34. IsaacsOK

    I’m a 1954 grad, and I still have my cap, starched and ready to go, my navy blue cape, my pin, nurses’ shoes, white hose, and I think I still have a three color pen, so handy to switch from blue to green to red depending on the shift. My favorite part of a.m. and p.m. care was giving backrubs. I remember how revolutionary it was when our ICU unit in 1975 was given permission to wear colored tops with our white pants…..supposed to be more cheerful for the patients.


    Thinks hoodies on nurses look sloppy.


    I personally miss not wearing all white and my cap I was so proud of it and patients knew you were the nurse

  37. dragonqt18

    Ok so I’m a new nurse. Graduated December of 2013 and I can check 3 or 4 of these off lol.

    • OH-nurse

      I miss the white uniforms because it was very reassuring to come home and bleach the heck out of them!!! Now that all the hospitals have transitioned to navy blue scrubs, I am not as confident that my uniforms are clean after the wash. Especially with today’s increasing number of virulent and antibiotic resistant microbes!!!

  38. Nanz

    I am very old school. But, no cap(kept falling off into meds until charge nurse suggested I just leave it on the counter until later), no pin, hated white uniforms, love colorful scrubs( my residents love them, too!), love sneakers, computers make ritualistic pen colors obsolete, always thought documentation is important ( so others know what was done). Medicine changes and so should we! Why on earth would TB be stopped with pillow case direction?

  39. marshfieldgrad75

    It’s not about what you wear, how you change a bed or the color of ink. Its the knowledge in your brain and the common sense in your being. It’s the experience that solves the problems, the gut feelings that find the answers. Old school nurses have seen it all heard it all and touched it all. We look at our patients, not a computer screen. We don’ follow a script.
    We are fearless and brave enough to tell it like it is. The best evidence based knowledge comes from being there.
    We remember when head nurses lead our team,not “managed”us for administration. We charted to communicate not to create revenue. We wore shrubs for infection control,not fashion. We left the MRSA in the hospital laundry, not dragged it into Target. Patients were patients not customers. Does the clerk behind the counter ask you about your bowels? We established an intimate honest empathetic relationship with our patients that lead to healing. We hand wrote instructions not printed a cover your butt form letter.
    I studied science and chemistry, not business machines and typing.I can write a note that tells more than any check in the box chart ever will. Too bad it takes 20 clicks to find it…maybe if was in
    green ink?
    I am sad to see what my profession has become. I am sad we do not get the respect that we have earned. When my great niece said she wanted to be a nurse I had no advice.She will be studying for a new profession. I do not expect to receive the kind of care I gave when I need it.
    So when you ask that old-school nurse to put in the IV you can’t get because no one taught you how to feel a vein, help her up when she kneels on the floor , those old schoolers don’t bend so well anymore.

  40. Scrubsbear

    This is my mom!
    :) :) :)

  41. Sweetcheeks8

    In the 50’s I gave the direction of the surgeon in an OR! Great Training! I miss seeing the CAP we worked hard foron the floors. White Uniforms on floors let Pt’s know we were RN’s with white shoes also. Scrubs in OR with Coats to go out of Department, change Caps and Masks when you come BACK IN!! Helped with surg. We were used as Interns and Residents and had good DR. teachers. Not all student nurses got to do all this in O R if they did not like it! Yes Pins on the floors. Worked in 5 differant States. Taught in OR and 1 time ER and relieved on differant floors for Supervisors summer vacations. In some Hospitals, to work in OR and there were no openings, you had to wait until someone either moved or died to get an opening in OR!!!LOL! It was my 60+ years stint! I loved it!!!!

  42. Momsabeach

    Wears her wristwatch with the face on the palm-side

    Calls colleagues by their LAST names

  43. Mrs mac

    Always had 4 Kirkby grips to keep her cap in place . Didn’t were strong perfume or have garlic on her breath. Wore an underskirt or else feel nursing officers glare ! Took a pride in making someone feel special and cared for. Had time to spend to stop and listen to what people were saying. Best of all we all worked hard but new how to take our caps off and let our hair down. Great times and great memories!

  44. Mary Anderson

    I’ve only been a cna for 2 years and a majority of these pertain to me! I can’t wait to become a RN though!!!!!7 out of 10 pertain to me!

  45. Buckeyeginny

    I graduated in 1980 with an associate degree, and am now in grad school. Picked up a BSN at The Ohio State University along the way. I would regretfully have to add:

    favorite phrase “because we’ve always done it this way” in spite of
    evidence-based practice (EBP).

    I was fortunate to have been handed my degree by Dr. Bernadette Melnyk, who literally wrote the book on EBP along with coauthor Dr. Ellen Fineout-Overholt.

  46. swoody

    Number 1, “wears hair above the collar.” has given me some pause in my daily practice. I am “old school” with 45 years of nursing experience. As a student, if our hair touched out collars with would pin it up or go home for the day”. As young women, lipstick was not fashionable, we also wore lipstick so we would be pleasant looking to the patients!

    My thought today about a nurse’s hair; hair does not need to be cut short or pulled up. However, I do wonder about the nurse who chooses to wear her hair hanging down. I question, if food handlers are required to cover their hair, shouldn’t nurses be required to keep their hair out of their faces and pulled back to prevent infection? I question the nurse’s understanding of hospital acquired infection. I have seen a nurse put in IV’s with her hair hanging over the patient’s limb; the nurse was pushing her hair aside so she could see.! Or the potential for the hair to dangle into an open wound. I currently work in a hospital who has decided to improve the image of the nurse by tightening up on the dress code. I am pleased with their decision.

    It is fun looking back!

  47. swens11

    As an old school nurse, our fingernails are always trimmed at the fingertip, no nail polish. No garlic or onions as we don’t chew gum around patients. We prefer to complete our own assessments and take our own vital signs. We prefer bedside care over administrative nursing. Sound right?

  48. nursesmart

    I call a nurse “old school” when she doesn’t take any S**T!

  49. Cindy Dunbar

    I was so proud to have earned the right to wear that cap and pin. It’s a shame that they don’t still do that.

  50. OH-nurse

    My very first nursing instructor said “A nurse with nails isn’t a nurse!” She meant nails with polish on them…



    1968/1971 Graduate

    47yr later still here working in Paediatrics

    What now?

  52. Tara Lynn 1954

    Yes, I am an “old school” nurse too. And I do wish patient care would go back to the “old ways”. I worked the 3pm to 11pm shift and loved it. After working for 8 hours you are ready to leave the hospital. I always wore my cap, school pin, hair short, finger nails short, ALWAYS a white dress uniform and white under garments, white stockings, and I have to admit, yes, white shoe polish in my locker. Patient care was number one on the list. I would keep a small pad with me to make notes on my patients and document at the end of a shift. Yes, we had time to give “back rubs”, hold a patient’s hand, if needed. And EVERYBODY in the hospital knew you were a nurse, weather an R.N. or L.P.N. I hate to walk into hospitals today and see what the nurses are wearing. Your not sure if your talking to an R.N. supervisor or housekeeping. I also do not like the idea that the nurses (female) wearing long hair that is flying all over the place or in “ponytails”…….PLEASE LADIES, if your over 18 you should not be wearing your hair like that and be allowed on the floor. I admit that there are specialties that you should wear color……like, Peds, but no place else. And a cap would hinder the ER,OR, ICU, but that is the only places. And the supervisor should still be in his/her whites so that the patients and their families can identify that you are a nurse. Yes, things have changed since I was nursing. And if I ever went back to it, I would still wear all whites with my cap. I worked very hard for the privilege to wear them and was very proud to call myself a nurse.

  53. nursingforever71

    I am guilty of all 10 and more!!

  54. Nrsjo64

    I still turn the open part of the pillow case toward the window away from the doorway

    I shave my patients

    I sit and talk with patients

  55. Sandra N Roy Mafnas

    I have been an RN for 33 years so I’m an old-school nurse. Last year I was hospitalized four times in a three months. I cannot believe the care I got at the first two hospitals one hospital the nurses never came out of the nurses station except to pass meds. The second hospital I was in twice once for 10 days and the other for over three days. At not one time did anyone come in and offer me a shower or a bed bath or did they change my linens. My daughter who is a CNA for hospice was furious and came in and bathed me and washed my hair and changed my sheets. At nighttime the nurses were so loud even with my door closed I could not sleep and ended up with anxiety. My last hospitalization was at a different hospital the choice of my surgeon I was in there for 10 days I had the best care. The three hospitals are owned by one company in Phoenix Arizona I have to say that I would never go back to the first two. The last hospital I got a bath every day I got clean sheets every day my nurses made sure I got my pain medicine even during shift changes. They had a communication board so I knew who my nurse was who my CNA wise who my doctors were when it was time for me to get up and walk and when my next pain medication was due every patient that I saw as I was doing my walking around with my IV pole was sitting up and chairs. They were clean and well taken care of. At nighttime the nurses station lights were dim and the nurses and staff were very quiet so the patients could sleep. Last month I broke my foot and when I went to the ER everyone wore scrubs I did not know who was the nurse, CNA, MD, or radiology tech! I’m sorry I loved the fact when we wore our caps and white uniforms. We looked like nurses. I find the care and knowledge of new nurses poor. I don’t think that is totally their’s the lack of nurses and pushing them through school. The hospitals who don’t staff adequately and some nurses that want a stable job with a good salary and does not believe nursing is a calling

    • facebook_user_1202677976426490

      I also was a patient in the hospital about a year ago and I got excellent care, the nurses assessed my pain, did nursing assessments, but no one asked me if I wanted to wash ! I would have been happy to sit at the sink and wash, but I think the staff didn’t want me to do that for fear I might fall or something. I should have been more assertive maybe. When I left my job in a hospital, our nurses always gave care or the CNAs did it. It just makes you feel better if you feel clean after surgery and can brush your teeth !

  56. Delaney Walsh

    Ummm…this sounds like me and I’m just about to start my first CNA job… I always knew I was an old soul *LOL.*


    I graduated in 1998 but I follow every rule on that list except the shoes. But I wore them in school. I also wore dresses and a hat. I was taught by a group of very old school nurses themselves. Although at the time it felt like tourtre. I was pregnant and given absolutely no special treatment. I appreciate today the teaching I had. It made me a more ethical and better nurse. They even put us through scenarios of what if the pt won’t get up so we learned not to use open ended questions. It was tough. But I made it. And wish it was still done the old fashioned way

  58. Dorcas

    Always neat and on time

  59. njtex99

    I actually learned how to do hospital corners in basic training and it came real handy when I started working in a hospital. Still do it 20 years later!

  60. amt838

    I graduated in 1977.I think you are an old time nurse if you show up on time for work and all your work is done when you leave.

  61. troutynz

    Definitely ‘old school’ here. I DO make my own beds hospital style, I miss the uniforms and caps (although sometimes difficult to wear), and even now have my nails short, basically no jewellery and my hair tied up (when it’s not short). Having been back in a hospital setting helping to care for a couple of relatives recently, I believe patient care has gone somewhat by the board in favour of technology – a great shame. It seems nursing used to be heart, hands, knowledge. Now it seems to be knowledge, knowledge, hands, and very little heart….. :(

  62. AFNurse

    I have a few comments:
    1. I am a male nurse (over 19 years). I am bald. Not a care on hair length (oh, and I am a nursing instructor).
    2. White shoes went out with the last century. Along with combat boots, polishing footwear is now gone.
    3. Jewelry? Keep body piercings out but as to 2….?!
    4. Thank god I am a guy. That cap was butt ugly. Oh, and the lamp??!! Whatever.
    5. All the rest is good. Patient centric care, good for the patient, and it is a calling I am totally good with.
    I am just waiting for the “old school” to die off enough for men to get their fair shake. We make a difference. Patients appreciate males in nursing, and I am getting tired of being stereotyped by the “old school” battle axe nurses that tried to weed us out of school because “we were guys”.
    Army medic 1987
    BSN 1997
    MSN 2009
    CMSRN 2010
    Making a difference: all of it.


    Really old school RN graduated ’78 and I’m male. The cheapening of the nurse / pt relationship was addressed by one of my instructors in ’76”

    “Sears has customers.
    Lawyers and prostitutes have clients.
    Nurse and doctors have patients.
    No one else does what we do, and that term is ours alone, and the only one we use.”

  64. Gone fishing

    amen to #9