Nursing through the years at CCU

Nursing: Yesterday and Today


Like most job roles, nursing has evolved over the years. From the uniforms to the technology used in nursing care, this industry looks completely different from the inside out than it did even 50 or 60 years ago.


The way nurses took a patient’s temperature was different in the past. Many nurses used mercury glass thermometers, whereas now there are more high-tech methods such as temporal thermometers. This takes less time to produce results, and the thermometers are less dangerous than their mercury-filled predecessors.

The iconic white caps nurses once wore to identify their roles were eventually deemed unhygienic because nurses were constantly adjusting them, transferring germs to the caps and spreading illness and disease. These caps were once proudly accepted by graduating nursing students as a physical symbol of their new profession.


These days, nurses wear scrubs, which are far more comfortable than the starched white uniforms of yesterday. Like their caps, the white, heeled shoes nurses wore were a huge part of their traditional image. Today, nurses have traded in these shoes for more supportive footwear.

Even the way patient medical records are documented is more high-tech with the advent of electronic medical records. Nurses once recorded notes, chart information and physicians’ orders by hand.

Some things never change

Though much has changed in the nursing care industry, there are constants, such as the nursing presence in the military since the Revolutionary War. In 1901, the Nurse Corps was officially established as part of the Army Medical Department.

Public health nursing has also been in existence since the early 19th century, which has contributed nursing care to those who are not simply sick but economically or socially disadvantaged. As integrated care becomes an increasing necessity for many patients due to age or chronic conditions, the need for public health nurses continues to rise.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the Florence Nightingales of yesteryear, or would like to join the long line of nurses who have improved and protected patient health in their communities, visit Colorado Christian University today!