Some of this trivia might surprise you
If you’re training to be a home health aide, nursing assistant, or practical nurse, you’re probably learning a lot about the nursing profession and its history. Here are some fun facts you might not have come across:
General nursing trivia
- There are more nurses than any other workers in the health profession.
- 25% of working nurses represent minorities.
- One of every four registered nurses works part-time, and one of every five licensed practical nurses works part-time. About three of every five registered nurses work in a hospital.
- In a 2001 survey, nurses said they were able to devote 62% of their time to direct patient care.
- In 2001 nurses and midwives made up between 50% and 90% of health practitioners in many countries.
- The U.S. has 972 nurses per 100,000 people—about the same ratio as Germany and Uzbekistan. Nepal is one of the countries with the lowest number of nurses per capita: only 5 nurses per 100,000 people. Finland, Norway, Monaco, Ireland and Belarus have (in that order) have the highest ratios of nurses per capita of all nations—from 2,162 to 1,182 nurses per 100,000 people.
- Japan’s exam for foreign nurses is so difficult that between 2009 and 2015, only 96 out of 741 nurses who took the test passed—that’s not even 13%!
Medieval nursing remedies (from BBC's History Extra author Toni Mount)
- In medieval times cumin and anise were mixed in white wine and steeped for three days and then dried to make a powder used to relieve stomach-related symptoms. Today, some medicines use these same herbs because they help to relieve excess gas from the stomach.
- Gout—a form of arthritis that can affect anyone—may cause severe pain, redness, and sore joints. In medieval times, victims of gout were advised to take a dead owl, pluck its feathers, clean the insides with salt, and put it in an oven until it was burnt. They would then cover it in boar’s grease and spread it over the affected area!
- For a stye in the eye, a medieval remedy was to combine onion, leek, and garlic with wine and bull’s gall, put the mixture in a brass bowl, and let it sit for nine nights. The liquid would be strained and then applied to the infected eye at nighttime—with a feather.
- Ancient techniques for burns included taking a living snail and rubbing the slime over the infected area. Since then, “snail slime” has been shown to contain antioxidants, and have antiseptic, anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-irritant properties. The slime also includes antibiotic and antiviral compounds, as well as collagen and elastin which are crucial for the repair of skin cells.
- For a cough, medieval people would make juice from horehound (an herb similar to mint) and mix it with barley water, sugar, and egg whites. You can find a similar over-the-counter medicine today, called linctus simplex.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this taste of nursing trivia. If you’re curious, read more about the history of nursing. We also invite you to learn more about our nursing career training programs at Harris Casel! We hope your future career path begins with us!
This article is part of the Harris Casel Institute’s weekly blog. We offer many career training programs at our campus in Melbourne, FL. Contact us online for more info!