Sunday, February 15, 2015


To pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully.

I will abstain from whatever  is deleterious and mischievous, and will not knowingly administer any harmful drug.

I will do all in my power to elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping, and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my profession.

With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.

We recited this pledge at ceremonies such as capping (end of freshman year), banding (end of junior year) and graduation.  This pledge was also displayed in the auditorium where we held class. When we said the pledge, we held a Nightingale lamp illuminated with a candle. There was even a strict protocol on how to hold the lamp; 2 hands, waist high, extended 5 inches out.

Our class was the first to be issued cheap gold plastic lamps. Perhaps this was a harbinger of the decline of diploma nursing schools. Previous classes had nice ceramic lamps embossed with school initials. Diploma schools supplied us with everything: books, housing, food, uniforms, and even laundry service. It's no wonder they went under. When the profession was seen as a business rather than a calling, the schools were done for.

When we recited the pledge we were lined up in rows and packed together like sardines. Our tormentors instructors were always conveniently positioned in the first row and on occasion hot wax could be inadvertently dripped on the back of their neck just below that coveted cap. In this case, the pledge would be recited as "Pass my life in purity"   hot wax drip  "Ouch, you clumsy little witch!"

That line about aiding the physician in his work was an integral part of our education training. If an MD showed up at the nurses station you jumped up and offered him your chair and offered coffee beverage service. Doctors were really at the top of the food chain. They told the insurance companies how long the patient would stay in the hospital (if the patient even had insurance), Sadly there were virtually zero women in medicine. Women and nurses were cherished and sweet talked in exchange for male domination.  I am ecstatic to have lived to see this change.

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