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The World of Nursing: Then and Now

Pam Cipriano, PhD, RN, FAAN, NEA-BC Editor-in-chief | American Nurse Today

The Mindset List, created by Beloit College in Wisconsin, helps faculty members prepare for incoming students by ensuring that their cultural references are up-to-date and reflect the worldview of current students. Its originators, Humanities Professor Tom McBride and former Public Affairs Director Ron Nief, have published this clever list since 1998 to help faculty stay in touch with younger generations. The list helps faculty recognize the differences between the truisms of their own formative years and the changes shaping the world of incoming students.

The 75 items on the Mindset List for the Class of 2014 humorously contrast generational differences in the perceptions of trends, celebrities, and politics. They reflect the latest advances in technology, consumer products, economics, sports, and public opinion. Many items on the list will make you laugh; some are reminders of ever-changing sociopolitical norms.

The nursing world, too, has evolved dramatically since the largest cohort of nurses, now ages 50 to 54, entered the workforce in the 1970s. When they graduated from nursing school, news headlines chronicled these events:

  • The first Apple® computer is developed.
  • The Supreme Court allows removal of life support for Karen Quinlan.
  • Elvis Presley dies.
  • Congress approves a $1.5 billion bailout for Chrysler.
  • The disposable razor is introduced.
  • Capital punishment is deemed constitutional.
  • Oregon decriminalizes marijuana.
  • The Department of Energy is created.

More recently, as nurses entered the workforce during the first decade of the new millennium, we saw headlines like these:

  • The Department of Homeland Security is created.
  • Medical marijuana is legalized in 14 states and the District of Columbia.
  • States place moratoriums on executions, as half the public favors life without parole over the death penalty.
  • Congress approves a $25 billion bailout of the auto industry.
  • Social networking connects people around the world. (Even Grandma is on Facebook!)

The Nurse List Then →


Featured Author: American Nurse Today
American Nurse Today, the official journal of the American Nurses Association (ANA) is a fresh voice of nursing across America. The journal reaches over 175,000 dedicated nurses in a multitude of specialties and practice settings.

Published monthly, six times in print and six times in electronic format, American Nurse Today is a comprehensive, timely, trusted information source that nurses can rely on to:
• Enhance patient outcomes
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• Build their educational foundation of best practices

As the only full-service professional organization representing the nation’s 3.1 million Registered Nurses, ANA is the driving force for nurses. ANA is a recognized and respected voice that shapes nursing practice standards and defines the code of ethics for the profession. ANA keeps the interests of nurses in the forefront of national debate and is responsible for many healthcare reforms. The organization focuses its work on core issues of vital concern to the nation’s registered nurses – nursing shortage, appropriate staffing, health and safety, workplace rights and patient safety/advocacy in addition to its cornerstone work, ethics and standards.

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