Post-it Sunday 5/21/23-Dressing a pillow

The post-it reads “Dressing a pillow.”

That’s it.

That’s the sum of the note.

But I know what it is referring to.

Basic nursing care that I was taught in nursing school included how to change a bed, occupied or unoccupied.

That is with or without a patient. I didn’t see fitted sheets on a hospital bed until I moved to the American South.

How do you dress a pillow?

This was covered in the first semester at my first nursing school.

This was 1993.

I even learned how to sharpen needles and re-sterilize them.

Old School, you know.

Old Nursing School. Established in 1928 in Omaha, Nebraska.

At 18, giving bed baths to my classmates was embarrassing. At least we got to keep our underwear on. Everything else? Off. And we used warm soapy water. And finished the bed bath with a back rub.

We learned how to do hospital corners on the bedsheets, top and bottom. Did I mention there were no fitted sheets?

But the pillow dressing. That threw some of my classmates for a loop.

You see, I had already known about the hospital corners and the proper dressing of a pillow. Daughter of a nurse.

Most people grab a pillow and put it against their chest as they put on the pillowcase. Or slip as we called it.


That means all the germs on the front of your scrubs get transferred to the pillow. Where the patient was expected to lay their head.

The proper way to dress a pillow is to grasp the bottom of the pillowcase in the center. And keeping it in your grasp, turn the pillowcase over your arm so that the outside of the pillowcase is along your forearm. This means that the clean side of the pillowcase is against the clean pillow. Next, you grab the middle seam of the bottom of the pillow and ease the pillowcase over the pillow.

Now the pillow is dressed. The germs on your scrubs have not come in contact with where they will be putting their head.

Apparently, no one teaches it this way anymore. Even if it makes sense. That is okay; I’ll keep doing it.

No germs on the outside of my pillows.

At work.

Or at home.

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