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National Nurses Week

15 Apr

National Nurses Week is quickly approaching, a time to honor some very special people. People like you—Nurses Trusted to Care!

The American Nurses Association has selected “Nurses Trusted to Care” as the theme of this year’s National Nurses Week. The week of May 6 to May 12 (the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing) will be dedicated to celebrating the invaluable contribution nurses make to our society, to raising public awareness of the value of nursing, and to educating the public about the vital roles nurses play in meeting the healthcare needs of the American people.

Make sure to recognize the special nurses in your life—colleagues, friends, family—with a special gift or thank you. And Happy National Nurses Week from all of us at!


National Nurses Week

7 May

Celebrate National Nurses Week with Allheart

It’s the beginning of National Nurses Week; National Nurses Week is celebrated annually from May 6 through May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

Make sure you recognize the nurse(s) in your life – shop for nurse’s gifts at allheart, or give them the gift of choice with allheart gift certificates.

12 days of Christmas

11 Dec

The holidays are here! One fun aspect of the holidays is the Christmas carols. No matter how hard you try to be a Grinch, you know at some point in the month of December, you will catch yourself singing along to a song! One that we all seem to know by heart is “The 12 Days of Christmas”. Since Allheart is kicking off a sale for the next 12 days with 12 items for sale at $12.12, it got me thinking. Where does the song come from?

Well, it turns out there is a lot of controversy on the subject. Some say it was a song designed to teach children about the Christian faith, with each line representing a tenet to remember. Others suggest the origins are political. But I’d rather take a lighter look at the song and what each gift might have symbolized during the time period in which the song was written. I have no idea why a partridge would be sitting in a pear tree! There are a many thoughts on what each element of the song mean, so I am going to tackle just a few of these.

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

First, it turns out partridges do sit in pear trees in England! Go figure! But the pear tree itself is also important. The pear often represents fertility, while the tree shows up in a Christmas tradition where a maiden walks backwards around a pear tree three times and then looks up to the branches where she will see the image of her future husband.

Two Turtle Doves

Doves are seen throughout history as a symbol of love and devotion. This may come from the fact that they mate for life. What a romantic gesture from “my true love”.

Four Calling (Colly) Birds

It turns out after all these years we have been singing the song wrong! It’s actually Four COLLY birds! Colly birds are actually blackbirds. And in the 18th century, whence this song was written, blackbirds were considered a delicacy. Remember the song, “Sing a Song of Six Pence”? Well, there were 24 blackbirds baked in a pie. Quite the status symbol back in the day!

Five Golden Rings

Once again, this probably doesn’t represent what you think it does! The five golden rings are meant to represent the 5 golden rings on a pheasant’s neck. Again with the birds! Pheasants were another sign of high society in the 18th century however, so hopefully our singer had a big appetite!

Six Geese A-Laying

Throughout much of history Geese have been seen as protectors. In Egypt, it was believed that a mummy’s soul rose up in the form of a goose with a human head. In Rome, geese honked to warn the Romans that the barbarians were nearing.

Seven Swans a-Swimming

Like with the geese, swans have a long history in mythology. Their ability to both swim and fly made many feel they had a connection to both the natural world and the supernatural. They are also a sign of royalty.

Eight Maids A-Milking

This verse refers to the sustenance provided by milk. In the Middle Ages, milk turned into cheese or butter was very important in the Winter months. Another interesting aspect of this line is “a-milking’. If a man asked a girl in the 18th century to “go a-milking” it was meant either as a marriage proposal, or a lurid invitation to intimacy. For the sake of a children’s’ song, let’s say this time the former was meant!

Nine Drummers Drumming

The nine drummers drumming could reference a few things, but my favorite option is that musicians often serenaded towns all night long during the Christmas season in

Ten Pipers Piping

In France, in the 18th century, a bagpipe of sorts, called a Musette was a popular instrument. It was a beautifully crafted and often played at 12th Night celebrations.
Eleven Ladies Dancing
Again, the 12th Night celebrations often included dances. These dances were called caroles, which is eventually where we get the term Christmas Carol!

12 Lords A-Leaping

Leaping was also part of 18th century celebrations. Leaping dances were supposed to be good luck for corn crops, because the height of the leap was said to determine the height of the corn. Lords a-leaping is also believed to refer to Morris dancers that would perform in elaborate costumes between food courses at Christmas feasts.
All in all, it sounds to me like our singer was asked on a wonderful date to a 12th Night feast! It certainly would have been quite a night!

Now don’t forget to check out the Allheart 12 Days of Christmas sale! Perhaps you can create your own version of the song for a nurse in your life!

10 Most Influential Female Nurses of All Time

27 Oct

Nurses impact lives every day. But once in a while, a nurse comes along who touches the lives of the world, and not just her patients. These women went above and beyond for the field of nursing. They served in wars, broke down racial barriers, and campaigned for women’s rights. They have become role models for women everywhere, not just nurses. However, nurses can be especially proud to share a title with these ten ladies.

1. Florence Nightingale


“The Lady with the Lamp” is the quintessential nurse figure. She cared for the poor and distressed, and became an advocate for improving medical conditions for everyone. In her early life, Nightingale mentored other nurses, known as Nightingale Probationers, who then went to on also work to create safer, healthier hospitals.
In 1894, Nightingale trained 38 volunteer nurses who served in the Crimean War. These nurses tended to the wounded soldiers and sent reports back regarding the status of the troops. Nightingale and her nurses reformed the hospital so that clean equipment was always available and reorganized patient care. Nightingale soon realized that many of the soldiers were dying because of unsanitary living conditions, and, after the war, she worked to improve living conditions.
While she was at war, the Florence Nightingale Fund for the Training of Nurses was established in her honor. After the war, Nightingale wrote Notes on Nursing and opened the Women’s Medical College with Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell.
International Nurses Day is celebrated on Nightingale’s birthday, May 12, each year.

2. Margaret Sanger


Best known as an activist for birth control and family planning, Margaret Sanger pioneered the women’s health movement. She distributed pamphlets with information on birth control and wrote on topics such as menstruation and sexuality. Her controversial opinions and disregard for the law often get Sanger in trouble. At one point she left to England under an alias in order to avoid jail.
In 1921, Sanger founded the American Birth Control League which eventually became Planned Parenthood. She began the Clinical Research Bureau in 1923 – the first legal birth control clinic in the US.

3. Clara Barton


Clara Barton grew up wanted to take care of people. When her father fell ill, Clara helped to care for him until his death. This inspired her to take an interest in nursing, although she first went to school to become a teacher.
During the Civil War, Barton organized medical supplies to be brought to the battlefields. Soon enough, she was allowed to go to the battles herself in order to care for wounded soldiers. Her father taught her to be a true patriot, and these ideals shown through during Barton’s years serving during the Civil War. In 1864, Barton became the “Lady in Charge” of Union hospitals, and the following year President Lincoln charged Barton with finding missing Union soldiers.
During a trip to Europe, Barton encountered the International Committee of the Red Cross, and was motivated to create a branch back in America. In 1873, Barton began the American Red Cross, dedicated to helping disaster victims. She served as the organizations first president.

4. Mary Eliza Mahoney


Mary Eliza Mahoney was the first African-American woman to become a nurse in the United States. Mahoney worked at the New England Hospital for Women and Children for 15 years before she was admitted into the adjacent nursing school. Mahoney dedicated her life to nursing, heading up the Howard Orphan Asylum for African-American children in New York. She was also one of the first members of the Nurses Associated Alumnae of the United States and Canada which later became the American Nurses Association.
In 1908, Mahoney co-founded the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses which eventually became part of the ANA. Each year, the ANA honors Ms. Mahoney with an award that represents her dedication to nursing and ending racial segregation. She has been inducted into both the ANA and National Women’s Hall of Fame.

5. Anna Caroline Maxwell


Anna Caroline Maxwell was known as the “American Florence Nightengale.” During the Spanish-American War, Maxwell headed up the army nurses, thereby establishing the Army Nurse Corps. During WWI, Maxwell was given the Medal of Honor for Public Health.
Maxwell was an essential element to the progression of practical nursing. She began working at a hospital before she was formally trained, and after graduating the Boston City Training College for Nurses, Maxwell began the nurse training program at Montreal General Hospital. She also served as the superintendent of nurses at a number of east coast hospitals including Massachusetts General Hospital and St. Luke’s Hosptial. Maxwell was the first director of the New York Presbyterian Hospital which would become the Columbia School of Nursing.

6. Dorothea Lynde Dix


Dorothea Dix is best known for creating the first mental health system in the United States. Inspired by a trip to England, Dix returned to America curious how the US government treated the mentally unstable. Dix spent many year petitioning Congress, drafting legislation, and documenting her visits to various states.
Dix first succeeded with the construction of the North Carolina State Medical Society in 1849, dedicated to the care of the mentally ill. Dix also assisted with legislation that called for 12,225 acres of land to be used for the “insane,” with proceeds of its sale going to build mental asylums.
During the Civil War, Dix served as Superintendent of the Union Army Nurses, although she was eventually relieved of her duties after butting heads with Army doctors. She was a staunch believer in caring for everyone, though, and her nurses were some of the only caretakers of Confederate soldiers.

7. Ellen Dougherty


Ellen Dougherty, of New Zealand, was the first Registered Nurse in the world. New Zealand was the first country to initiate the Nurse Registration Act that allowed for legal registration of nurses prior to completion of training. Dougherty trained at the Wellington Hospital and was the matron at Palmerston North Hospital.

8. Mabel Keaton Staupers


Mabel Keaton Staupers was an advocate for racial equality in the field of nursing. Staupers served as the secretary of the National Associated of Graduate Colored Nurses. She advocated for the introduction of African-American nurses into the Army and Navy during WWII.
In 1945, she won the fight and all nurses, regardless of race, were to be included in the military. In 1950, Staupers dissolved the NAGCN as it re-aligned with the American Nursing Association.

9. Linda Richards


After receiving little training during her first attempt to become a nurse, Linda Richards enrolled as the first student in the first American Nurse’s training school. After graduating, she began work at Bellevue Hospital in New York. Recognizing the disorganization of keeping records, Richards developed a system to track individual records of each patient. The US and UK both readily adopted Richard’s system.
In 1874, Richards became the superintendent of the Boston Training School for Nurses and virtually turned the fledgling school around. Richards also traveled to England and was taught by Florence Nightingale. In her later years, Richards established the American Society of Superintendents of Training Schools and led the Philadelphia Visiting Nurses Society. In 1994, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

10. Claire Bertschinger


Claire Bertschinger worked for the International Red Cross during the highly-publicized 1984 famine in Ethiopia. She regularly was seen on television, and helped to inspire Bob Geldof to create the Band-Aid charily single. While in Ethiopia, she ran a number of children’s feeding centers, although she was never able to feed everyone.
Along with Ethiopia, she also worked in Panama, Lebanon and Papua New Guinea. Her experiences motivated her to write a book on her work, entitled Moving Mountains. Bertschinger has received the Florence Nightengale Medal, the Woman of the Year Award and the Human Rights in Nursing Award.

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The History of the Stethoscope

2 Jul

The first stethoscope was invented in France in 1846 and looked nothing like the stethoscope of today – far from being soft and flexible, it was made from wood and resembled a bathroom plunger.


That’s because it was based on the ear trumpet – a cone-like device used as a primitive hearing aid.

The modern stereo stethoscope was developed by Rappaport and Sprague in the 1940s. This model was acoustic, short, heavy and expensive. It came in a fancy walnut box and retailed for $300. Some were even gold-plated.

Great strides were made during the 1960s and 1970s in improving the materials used in acoustic stethoscopes, leading to more precise diagnoses, lower prices and better comfort.

Some doctors developed a “perfect pitch” through their stethoscopes – a talented professor named Dr. W. Proctor Harvey became a “virtuoso” who could diagnose complex heart conditions just by listening to a patient’s heartbeat!

Keeping up with the Internet age, stethoscopes went electronic in the early 2000s. This great leap in technology provided precision volume control, ambient noise reduction, and wireless capabilities to record heartbeats into computers for analysis by software.

While electronic models are superior for certain functions (such as listening to fetal heartbeats), acoustic stethoscopes still remain the more widely popular choice.

At, we carry all types of “modern” stethoscope, from the very basic single head model to the most sophisticated electronic models, which we recognize are a crucial component to your every-day work life. With options ranging from custom engraving to fashion right colors- it’s hard to imagine that this piece of equipment was once little more than a bathroom plunger.

Ten interesting historical facts about scrubs

6 Jun


  1. Scrubs (and nurses’ uniforms in general) evolved from nuns’ habits. Nuns were the original caretakers of the sick.
  2. Florence Nightengale pioneered the idea that nurses should dress distinctly and differently from other medical aid workers.
  3. Despite lacking gloves or masks, nurses in the 1800s were sold “fever-proof” uniforms that supposedly blocked disease.
  4. In the early 20th century, nurses dressed in straight, sharply-tailored, ankle-length dresses. It was more important to be seen as respectable – and separate from the servants — than to be comfortable.
  5. World War I changed everything. Skirts were shortened so that nurses could move around, or, if necessary, run.
  6. Well into the 20th century, surgeons wore street clothes with butchers’ aprons. The practice dropped sharply after the 1940s, as it was dangerous to both doctor and patient, not to mention distasteful.
  7. Hats were once a major part of nursing uniforms. They fell out of favor because male nurses didn’t like wearing them.
  8. Riding a wave of enhanced hygiene, scrubs became popular in the 1970s because they were easier to clean than uniforms. They were considered more hygienic and less likely to transmit Staph and other hospital-borne pathogens.
  9. In the early days, scrubs were almost always green or light blue, but some hospitals switched to pink (or enormous stenciled logos) to discourage theft. University hospitals frequently match their scrubs to their institution’s colors.
  10. Scrubs have gained popularity outside the hospital and have been adopted by backpackers because of their light weight and comfortable feel.

What do you know about scrubs that we need to know at The Pulse? What is the word at the nurses station in terms of the hottest brands or the best fitting bottoms? Is there some special way that you wash your scrubs that keeps the colors more vibrant and helps them last  longer? What color scrubs look great together? What scrubs do you wear as every day clothing or wear together with your street clothes?