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Luna said when she became a bedside nurse in 1982, where she worked for 18 years before coming to JJC, women still typically veered to one of four tracks: nursing, teaching, secretarial or stay-at-home motherhood.
Today, nurses can use their skills in settings other than acute care: outpatient facilities, schools, hospitals and even correctional centers, Luna said. Also, the burn-out rate in acute care is high, for several reasons.
Nurses today do more documentation, which is extremely important, but leaves them less time for bedside nursing, Luna said. They also care for more patients on a shift and patients that are sicker than in previous decades.
Patients, for instance, used to come to the hospital the night before certain cardiac tests – and they might stay until the day after the test, Luna, who worked on an acute cardiac floor, said.
Now many of those tests are done on an outpatient basis, she said.
Luna could clearly recall the first time a doctor asked, “What kind of insurance does the patient have?” Because the type of insurance never used to matter.
“We treated everybody,” Luna said.
Above, nurses at Elmhurst Hospital place 24-inch decorative daffodils, one for each COVID-19 inpatient who has been discharged, outside the hospital on April 21.