|"That spot you missed will cost you 10 demerits"|
The swabbing the deck curriculum began with an orientation to perhaps the most important and critical cog in the hospital hygiene world which was the lowly slop sink. These marvels of plumbing technology consisted of a square, slightly elevated receptacle just inches off the floor. They were marble back in the day, but toward the end of my nursing days they were (gasp) fiberglass which definitely lacked presence and looked cheap. Slop sinks close to the floor were a real boon to a nurse's back because the massive 30 liter buckets could be filled and emptied with minimal lifting. Filling buckets was lots more fun than emptying the bacterial/blood/stew medley that frequently accumulated after a mopping session.
Home base for the RN mop crew was a trolley consisting of two 30 liter buckets on a mobile platform. Bucket # 1 was filled with 19 liters of hot water and a foul smelling witches brew of ammonia compounds and an overpowering detergent that really meant business. The ratio of solution was 10:1 and this factoid was always a question on just about any test. Bucket #2 was equipped with a wringer and Miss Bruiser, my favorite instructor, claimed that aggressive mop wringing was good for the bust line. I don't know about that, but my signature move was twirling the high modulous cotton/rayon mop head as it settled into the wringer which really got the juices flowing (the mop's, not mine) when the wringer mechanism was actuated.
Alice, my favorite operating room supervisor was equally adept at mop swinging as sponge stick loading. My mopping abilities were honed to perfection by lessons from Alice. She said to always pull the mop toward you while moving backwards. I modified her technique to a sideways stance after backing into a kick basin and nearly breaking my neck in a free fall to the floor. After that episode I often referred to them a trip basins.
I actually enjoyed mopping operating room floors. The rhythmic swinging of the mop had a meditative component to it and I loved seeing the immediate results of my labors. After dealing with verbally assaultive surgeons and aching fingers from loading needle drivers, mopping was a refreshing oasis complete with the soothing sloshing of water. A gift.
In the sunset years of my work in the OR, young nurses were surprised at my love of mopping and suggested there might be a better use for my skills. I was far too compliant to question mopping duties and too foolish to refuse, after all, I was doing it for the patients. Old nurses would do just about anything for their patients.
Today on my frequent visits to hospitals as a patient, it's as though I'm entering the Twilight Zone. I don't know which is worse, carpeted floors or the total absence of moppers of any permutation. Modern hospital have descended to a hellscape of ubiquitous beeping and bleeping electronic doo-dads with nurses caring for computers on wheels. I would much rather be wheeling around something of substance like a fully loaded mop trolley.