Here is an old picture of Nurse Bookworm. She was alone in the library while all of her classmates were out having fun. My nursing instructors always gave us a pop quiz on our first day back to school after a holiday break. I don’t think they wanted us to enjoy our time off, and I bet Nurse Bookworm earned an A+ on all of her quizzes. In the time honored tradition of pop quizzes, please try to answer these intriguing questions that I found in the 1928 edition of State Board Questions and Answers for Nurses. Don’t worry if you don’t pass the test. I know that you were out having fun during the Labor Day weekend.

Question #1: What are the symptoms and treatment of acute arsenical poisoning?

Answer: “The symptoms of acute arsenical poisoning are tightness in the throat and great pain in the stomach region. Diarrhea occurs culminating in rice-water stools. There is prostration, retching and vomiting, and often, complete suppression of urine. Violent headache and pain in the muscles followed by collapse and coma occur in fatal cases. Death may ensure in twenty-four hours or may be delayed some days. The treatment is to evacuate the stomach immediately, either by administering mustard water, or apomorphine gr. 1/10 by hypodermic, or by the stomach tube. The hydrated oxide of iron and magnesia is the chemical antidote and should be given in gobletful doses. Keep the patient quiet, and , if the diarrhea has not commenced, give half a pint of very strong coffee by rectum.”

Question #2: What are the symptoms of zinc poisoning and what are the antidotes?

Answer: “Zinc salts, the sulphate and chloride, act as irritant poisons, causing nausea, vomiting, epigastric pain and diarrhea, ending in shock and collapse. The urine is scanty, containing albumin and casts—sometimes blood, and suppression may occur. The antidotes are carbonate or bicarbonate of soda, a tablespoonful to a quart of water, and milk.”

Question #3: Name five emetics and five alteratives.

Answer: “Mustard, sodium chloride, apomorphine, ipecac, and sulphate of copper are emetics. Potassium iodide, mercury protoiodide, colchicum seed, sarsaparilla, and arsenous acid are alteratives.”

Here’s my favorite question:

Question #4: Give technical names for brandy, whisky, cod liver oil, salt, and calomel.

Answer:

The technical name for brandy is spiritus vini gallici.
The technical name for whisky is spiritus frumenti.
The technical name for cod liver oil is oleum morrhuae
The technical name for salt is sodii chloridi
The technical name for calomel is hydrargyri chloridum mite.

So, how did you do?