The Blood and Guts Shift. Virchester in the 1970s.

This appeared on my Twitter feed recently and also on Life in the Fast Lane, and I think we need to log it here too 🙂

It’s an amazing insight into how Casualty units worked in the 1970s and my initial impression was how far we had come. We now have better staffing, better departments, more skills and a recognised speciality. This department is staffed my an anaesthetist who works part time in the ED. Skip to 5:24 if you want to brush up on your RSI skills!!!!!!!

So is it all progress? Well yes and no. Others have pointed out how calm and unhurried and in some ways how cool the staff are despite the conditions. There’s also evidence of good quality teaching, public health advice and a team spirit amongst the staff. In other ways the problems are still the same. Interpersonal violencce, alcoholism, drug addiction, poverty and resource scarcity.

There are also white coats for the docs and hats for the nurses which makes me weirdly nostalgic for my training days. It’s a little known fact that Virchester ED was the last department in the region to lose hats and coats from the department. When I started EM in the early 1990s the nurses would be in exactly these uniforms and the docs would be in shirts and ties. Gloves were optional for all regardless of the procedure.

So watch, enjoy and reflect on how far we have come, or have we?



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Cite this article as: Simon Carley, "The Blood and Guts Shift. Virchester in the 1970s.," in St.Emlyn's, February 18, 2018,

2 thoughts on “The Blood and Guts Shift. Virchester in the 1970s.”

  1. What is utterly fascinating (amongst many things) is the comments about ‘inappropriate attendance’- no change in 40years.

Thanks so much for following. Viva la #FOAMed

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