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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was recently introduced to the historical medical drama "Casualty", which details the daily working lives of doctors and nurses in the London Hospital in the years 1906, 1907 and 1909 (and I think there's a 1910 series coming out soon).

While I was watching the episodes, I noticed the matron wearing one of those upside-down nurses pocket-watches on her blouse.

Does anyone know where I can find out the history of nurses pocket watches? Why were they pinned or clipped to clothing, instead of hung on chains? And why were they set out so that they were upside down like that? My curiosity is aroused...
 

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Can't really help - but this thread on a nurse's forum is quite interesting:

http://allnurses.com/general-nursing-discussion/lapel-watches-130988.html

I always thought it was to do with keeping the watch easily accessible and secure whilst not exposed to water - or other fluids - while hand washing or doing the other things nurses do. There must be a book somewhere, but I can't google one yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Marrick,

That thread was really interesting! Thanks!
 

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Upside own so that they could "lift" it with the back of the hand and read the time.
This in case the hands/gloves were dirty.

My mom was a`midwife.
 

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Interesting. I also found reference to a requirement that a watch be worn on a black ribbon around the neck (don't know where now).

Anyway this:

http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq59-31.htm

U.S. Navy Nurse Corps General Uniform Instructions, 1917 says:

"No ornaments or jewelry other than a plain watch fob to be worn while on duty. Plain wrist watches are permitted to be worn except when center-indicated by professional duties."

It should probably be counter-indicated.

It also seems to me that the 'upside down pendant' watch was much more widely used in the UK than the US. Certainly it was the norm in the UK in the past. Anyway, Shangas, there are many books about nurses uniforms - probably with bits about watches in some of them.

Take care though - googling for images of nurses uniforms is not always 'safe for work'!;-)

Actually, I have now found this current dress code from an NHS (UK) trust:

http://www.cambridgeshirepct.nhs.uk/documents/Staff%20Information/Policies/Hunts/HR/Uniform_Dress_Code_Policy.pdf?preventCache=06%2F05%2F2005+10%3A14

which states:

"Wrist watches must not be worn but securely pinned (similar to a fob watch) to the uniform to prevent any hazard to patients."

and these regs http://www.docstoc.com/docs/29755712/Uniform-and-Dress-Policy-for-Pre-Registration-Midwifery-and for a midwifery course state that:

"Wrist watches must not be worn. Fob watches are favoured and must be pinned to fall inside a pocket. Wrist watches have been found to be a source of infection and prevent adequate hand washing and drying. A wrist watch may also injure a patient."
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey Marrick! How fascinating! Thanks! I'll read that now.
 

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Thank God a Dentist can wear a Wristwatch!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Are you a dentist, Janne?
 

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Ok thought i would throw this one in, if only for you all to laugh at my hair! well it was the seventys, my girlfriend wore her watch on her chest, mine was hidden in the breast pocket, both fob watches manual and as poor nurses the cheapest we could find, ingersols or timex as i remember, as an after note, i recently got in contact with the lady in the picture with me, alas to find she has a terminal brain tumor, so any prayers out there going spare, a little one for her would be appreciated, thanks
 

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I spent 21 years working in hospitals, in many capacities while in the Air Force, Sorry I'm late to the party:

These watches are especially made for the medical profession, especially nurses and still worn by some even though they were never totally popular with the entire profession.
When worn correctly, they make taking pulses and reading the time easy while giving medications, recordring the time during emergencies, and other tasks that may require both hands to be used at the same time.

Another purpose is to make handwashing easier, and to make it easier to tell the time while doing messy hands on tasks, as well as safety for scratching patients or preventing a wristwatch from getting tangled in tubing, wires, or bandages that are prevelant in a hospital setting. Nurses watches really make patient care easier especially while wearing surgical gloves since those gloves usally will cover a wristwatch. A few other sanitary advantages are: They really help to prevent the spread of infection from bacteria that could be missed if you are wearing a wristwatch during hand cleansing; and since some soaps can be irritating to the skin if not fully rinsed off, they prevent soap from being trapped between the watch and the wrist.

Now-a-days cheap/digital versions of these watches are often given away by drug companies as swag to hospital personnel.

I have seen these in many styles and versions, but since the 1980s when I started my career, they are not that popular probably because they are a specialty item, and only sold over the internet or in the 80s, thru the mail. It is much more common to simply see a lightwight/plastic wristwatch pinned upside down to a nurse's or aid's scrub shirt...


Interesting. I also found reference to a requirement that a watch be worn on a black ribbon around the neck (don't know where now).

Anyway this:

Uniform Regulations for Navy Nurse Corps, 1917

U.S. Navy Nurse Corps General Uniform Instructions, 1917 says:

"No ornaments or jewelry other than a plain watch fob to be worn while on duty. Plain wrist watches are permitted to be worn except when center-indicated by professional duties."

It should probably be counter-indicated.

It also seems to me that the 'upside down pendant' watch was much more widely used in the UK than the US. Certainly it was the norm in the UK in the past. Anyway, Shangas, there are many books about nurses uniforms - probably with bits about watches in some of them.

Take care though - googling for images of nurses uniforms is not always 'safe for work'!;-)

Actually, I have now found this current dress code from an NHS (UK) trust:

http://www.cambridgeshirepct.nhs.uk/documents/Staff%20Information/Policies/Hunts/HR/Uniform_Dress_Code_Policy.pdf?preventCache=06%2F05%2F2005+10%3A14

which states:

"Wrist watches must not be worn but securely pinned (similar to a fob watch) to the uniform to prevent any hazard to patients."

and these regs Uniform and Dress Policy for Pre-Registration Midwifery and for a midwifery course state that:

"Wrist watches must not be worn. Fob watches are favoured and must be pinned to fall inside a pocket. Wrist watches have been found to be a source of infection and prevent adequate hand washing and drying. A wrist watch may also injure a patient."
 

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Wow! she's beautiful, and your uniform are bit weird, even your hair.haha. Hope this female nurse in the photo will get well soon. Love her smile too. Nurses are really in need of watches even till now, however nowadays we don't wear it on the chest part of our uniforms but in our wrist or in our pockets. btw, here is a resource of the famous nurses in history; Famous Nurses Throughout History

Though, I'm still wondering if these historical nurses have also watches while they are taking good care of their patients. :)
 
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