Then and Now: History Edition
Press & Dakotan

Then and Now: History Edition


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THEN & NOW: PAGE 9C PRESS & DAKOTAN n MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2017 PHOTO: AVERA SACRED HEART HOSPITAL This archive photo was taken at the intensive care unit of Sacred Heart Hospital in 1965. The nurses may have changed their uniforms and technology has leapt tenfold, but the mission of quality care remains the same in the nursing field. Devotion To Care Remains The Same As Nursing Methods Change BY DILLON DWYER N ursing as a profession has existed for centuries, but the field has drastically evolved with the advent of computer technology during the last 100 years. P.K. Holmes, a Vermillion resident, started nursing in 1961 after graduating from Augustana University as a baccalaureate nurse. Only within the last five years has she stepped away from active nursing, and during her 51-year tenure she was keen to observe many different changes and improvements to the field of nursing as technology evolved. When I first decided to go into nursing, most of the programs were diploma programs and they weren t college based. Diploma programs were hospital based, and that meant that nursing prospects would sign up with a hospital for three years and learn directly from registered nurses. We called that nurses training as opposed to nursing education. While Holmes graduated from a four-year, university-based program, the three-year diploma program and two-year associates program were also viable options during the 1950s. All three programs still required their participants to pass the state board examinations before receiving their nursing license. While both baccalaureate and associate nursing programs still exist today, diploma programs were phased out in the 1980s. Outside of nursing education, one of the drastic changes to nursing that Holmes noticed throughout her career was the amount of leeway that nurses held when dealing with patients. The biggest thing that changed from about the 1930s to when I first started nursing in the 1960s was the registered nurses didn t have much autonomy in the hospital setting, Holmes said. Nurses depended on orders from the physician and followed those orders without question. It wasn t until the 1970s that the care for patients began to take the form of a health care team consisting of nurses, doctors and nutritionists. The care of patients became more of cooperative effort, with nurses playing a larger role in determining patient care. Another big difference that Holmes noticed throughout her career was the implementation of new technologies that improved the immediacy and accuracy of important health care documents. The changes in technology were unbelievable, Holmes said. When I first started, we had to write everything down by hand. We didn t have computers to help us look up KELLY HERTZ/P&D In this archive photo, nurses like Avera Sacred heart s Lynne Nelson (as well as Liz Healy, who served as the patient for this image) are among the army of health professionals whose goal is to improve the outcomes and quality of care for patients. patients histories either. If a patient came from another hospital, we had to wait for their information to arrive through the mail or rely on the patients to give their medical history. The advantage of technology also allowed for the creation of a more universal language for health care that also improved the accuracy and clarity of medical histories. Another big change that Holmes noticed during her career was the prevalence of males entering the nursing profession. It s a good thing because men and women tend to see things differently and that adds increased perspective in the hospital setting, Homes said. While Holmes appreciates the speed and accuracy of medical histories and the increased diversity in the nursing field that are direct results of technological advancements, she also noted that nurses don t rely on their own senses as much to gather information and have become attached to relying on the computers for information. She also worries that hospital stay turnover rates have sped up and affected the overall quality of patient care. Most patients don t stay in the hospital for more than 48 hours and I think that is really hard on the patients and their families sometimes, Holmes said. I think that patients need more time to be educated on after-care procedures. The few negative aspects aside, Holmes doesn t think that overall quality of nursing has diminished. In fact, she believes that it has been improved by the amount of technology and cooperation between health care teams. I think that technology has made judgment calls easier and improved the accuracy of lab reports, Holmes said. I think that things have definitely changed, but mostly for the better, and the quality of patient care has not been affected in any way. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month 10% OFF All PINK Items In The Store! Save All Month! Expires 10/31/17 Bring In A Completed Chemo Cap and Receive 15% Off Your Entire Purchase! Cancer Caps will be donated to cancer patients in Yankton and the surrounding areas. 909 Broadway, Tripp Park Plaza 605-689-3999 Open: Monday-Friday 10am-6pm Saturday 10am-5pm Investing In You! Staying on the leading edge of modern dentistry to make your visit a comfortable experience! 1101 Broadway Ste. 105, Morgen Square 605.665.2448 Experience Gentle, Personalized Dental Care For Your Entire Family!
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Devotion to Care Remains the Same as Nursing Methods Change