Being a nurse is quite possibly one of the roughest, most thankless jobs around. Nurses have to study hard to have the medical knowledge it takes to do the job. They’re almost doctors in terms of what they know, and usually provide more direct care to patients than the actual doctor does. It’s a dirty job, cleaning bedpans and changing diapers (infant or otherwise), and you have to do it all with a smile on your face on top of it.
In 1887, nurses were still an important part of the medical field, but they were governed by some very strict rules that might seem a little crazy in this day and age. Nurses back then not only had to manage way, way more patients than they do today (close to a staggering 50 per nurse), they were also required to adhere to every one of the following nine rules.
1. Nurses must dust the patient’s furniture and window sills daily, along with sweeping and mopping the floors of their entire ward.
2. Each nurse must bring a scuttle of coals to the hospital to help maintain an even temperature in the ward.
3. Nurses must clean and maintain kerosene lamps on a daily basis to ensure doctors have plenty of light to work in.
4. Nurses must take copious notes to assist the doctor’s work.
5. Nurses will report to work at 7 a.m. and leave at 8 p.m. every day except the Sabbath, where they are off from noon to 2 p.m.
6. Graduate nurses in good standing with their director may take one evening off each week for courting purposes, or two evenings if they regularly attended church.
7. Nurses are required to set aside a “goodly sum” of their monthly earnings in order to save up for her declining years so she won’t be a burden. Setting aside roughly 50% of your monthly income was a general rule of thumb.
8. Nurses who smoke, use liquor in any way, get their hair done at beauty salons or frequent dance halls will be subject to having their worth, intentions and integrity questioned by her superiors.
9. Nurses who perform their duties faithfully and professionally without fault for five years will receive a raise of five cents per day.
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