Simplified Blood Transfusion

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Editor's note: From its first issue in 1900 through to the present day, AJN has unparalleled archives detailing nurses’ work and lives over more than a century. These articles not only chronicle nursing's growth as a profession within the context of the events of the day, but they also reveal prevailing societal attitudes about women, health care, and human rights. Today's nursing school curricula rarely include nursing's history, but it's a history worth knowing. To this end, From the AJN Archives highlights articles selected to fit today's topics and times.

At one time, blood transfusions were routinely performed only in an operating room (OR). This 1937 article describes how one hospital found a way to change this practice by bringing the OR to the bedside. Author Frances A. Burgess details the contents of the sterile tray and recommends including a second sterile instrument pack in case a “cut down” might be needed for vein access. An OR nurse brings the equipment cart to the ward and assists with the transfusion.

Burgess ends her article by emphasizing the benefits of the new protocol, highlighting priorities that will sound familiar to today's hospital nurses. “With this method the operating rooms are not held up by transfusions when as many as seven to nine are given in a day, and ill patients need not be moved to the operating room.”

For a review of blood products, current recommendations for their use, and the potential complications of transfusions, see “A Review of Current Practice in Transfusion Therapy” in this issue.

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