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If you were a patient as far back as 200 years ago, what instruments would your nurses have used to care for you? Dr. Mary Ann Cordeau, a curator of the "Josephine A. Dolan Collection of Nursing Artifacts" at the University of Connecticut's School of Nursing joins Martha to discuss vintage nursing items.

The feeders, syringes, and bedpans seen on the show were donated to the University by Josephine A. Dolan, the first professor of nursing at the University of Connecticut's School of Nursing. In order to write a book on the history of nursing, she collected materials from dealers or in some cases, from descendants of the family, before donating them to the archives and special collections at the University of Connecticut in 1996.

Nursing in the 1800s was rather different than it is today. Any woman could call herself a nurse, while now we have formal training and certification. Nursing took place in private homes. The nurses stayed with patients until they got well and sometimes stayed in a home as part of the staff. And if a patient was in a hospital, he stayed until he got well -- not in two to three days, like today.

Special Thanks

Special thanks to Dr. Mary Ann Cordeau, a curator of the "Josephine A. Dolan Collection of Nursing Artifacts" at the University of Connecticut's School of Nursing, for sharing this information.

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