Nursing is such a courageous and life-changing position to take on, yet society often allows it to remain a position we take for granted. A nurse will always be there, so they just become another piece of the hospital puzzle as we wait for what the doctor is going to say. We need to be better at recognizing just how much nurses are really doing for ourselves and other patients as we enter the hospital.
Nurses are so important that we don’t even realize how much they are bringing to the table. Not only in the ways of checking vital signs, administrating medicine, drawing blood and making sure we have everything we need, but also in inventing and discovering tools in order to make their job that little bit easier. Did you know that nurses were creating life-changing inventions?
Let us share the inventions that nurses have come up with!
Color Coded IV Lines
Simple medical errors can happen, and when nurse Teri Barton-Salinas and her sister, Gail Barton-Hay, were fed up with these errors occurring, they decided to do something about it. Back before 2003, IV lines were all the color of the clear plastic they were naturally made of. However, when Nurse Barton-Salinas was working as a labor delivery nurse, she had to use these IV lines on babies. When it comes to making decisions as a nurse, it can be challenging to identify the right equipment when they are all the same color. And a mistake made on a newborn is not something any nurse wants to have to go through. So, color-coded IV lines were created and an identification key was made with them. Developing a stress-free tool that would benefit all nurses.
The Crash Cart
You may have heard of the crash cart, and those Greys Anatomy fans definitely know what it entails. For all of us who aren’t sure, the crash cart comes out when our hearts are having some troubles. Specifically, stopping. Back in the day, time would be wasted bringing together all of the tools to help patients during a scary moment like heart failure. As Nurse Anita Dorr sat and watched time and lives slip away, she decided to go down into her basement and create the crash cart prototype. By 1968, hospitals were able to depend on the crash cart, which had been very specifically organized to be used with ease and now is used all over the world.
Bringing it way back, the sanitary pad – which is now made of what we would consider normal material – used to be made up of all types of things. Knitted fabric, rabbit fur and even grass were all methods used to try and contain the excessive bleeding. Mainly on the battlefield during WWI. While the first pads were initially made of wood pulp, they would later be replaced by cellucotton. A material that was used to bandage soldiers’ wounds. With cotton in short supply, the cellucotton wasn’t only a great option but also five times as absorbent. The French field nurses unofficially used it as a sanitary pad and once the war was over, it became the new norm.
Feeding Tube For Paralyzed Veterans
In the 1940s, when soldiers from WWII were paralyzed and recovering from battle, it was difficult for nurses to take care of them all at once. This is where Bessie Blount Griffin, also known as “Wonder Woman”, would come in strong by inventing the feeding tube. The tube was made to allow soldiers to use their teeth to feed themselves. When they would bite down, they would receive liquefied food without the need for a nurse’s assistance. An invention very much appreciated at the time and later, as Miss Griffin went on to work in forensic science and become the first African-American woman to work at Scotland Yard.
Jaundice is a condition newborns can have which makes them appear a yellow color. This is due to high levels of bilirubin, a yellow-orange bile pigment, and is seen as quite common. It occurs because the “used” red blood cells break down and create new blood cells. Our liver usually aids in the breakdown, but with the baby’s liver not working well right off the bat, we are left with a yellow baby.
Sister Jean Ward was the one who discovered that sunlight helped with jaundice in the 1950s. After bringing a baby inside one day, the doctor noticed that the skin under a small piece of the blanket was still yellow and the rest of the baby was looking more normal. This discovery allowed doctors to use phototherapy on infants to tackle jaundice.
With sunlight helping jaundice and doctors using phototherapy to help with the yellow skin color, there was one issue. The Baby’s eyes shouldn’t be taking on that much sun or light therapy. Nurses and doctors before the 1990’s would create some sort of cover-up – including paper and cotton balls – to stop the bright lights from penetrating the baby’s gentle eyes. Though this is where Nurse Sharon Rogone came in and created the perfect baby glasses. They were held in place by a bonnet and were named the Bili-Bonnet!
Ostomy Bags: invented by Danish nurse, Elise Sorensen, in 1954 after her sister had ostomy surgery and was left with a leaking and smelly waste tool around her waist. Sorensen created a plastic pouch that would adhere to the body.
TRAYBL: need to attach a table to any pole? That’s what nurse Joyce Harrel invented. Wanting to provide extra surfaces for tools, the TRAYBL became the perfect equipment to do just that.
Not only do nurses change our lives, but they also invent life-changing tools. Without these upgrades and inventions, life as a nurse or doctor would be that much more difficult and more prone to errors. Share with your friends the inventions that nurses have brought to the table and make sure to thank you, nurses, for everything they do!