Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Nurses and a Missed Date With Destiny

A few weeks ago, a couple of women on The View got in hot water with the nursing profession. It seems the woman who went on to win the Miss America crown (apparently, still a thing that happens) performed a monologue for the talent portion of the pageant; the monologue was about her work as a nurse. 

Two women on the View thought it was high-frickin' hilarious that this contestant "performed" a monologue instead of, I don't know, tap dancing or playing the harp. (1)

(1) 87% of the women in the US who know how to play the harp will wind up competing to be Miss America. True fact.

I thought it an ingenious turn and it probably helped the future Miss America win the crown. It was a monologue told with heart and humor. It was not the embarrassing debacle those two women on the View were trying to portray. 

Then things took a more depressing turn when the nurse/beauty pageant contestant was derided for wearing a stethoscope with her nurse's scrub. 

You know, a doctor's stethoscope. 

Yeah. So nurses all over rose up in anger to protest the View and advertisers began pulling their commercials. The View tried to make up for it by bringing a whole bunch of nurses to appear on the show. Which was a gutsy move by the View to bring dozens of nurses on stage with stethoscopes they clearly have no idea how to use. Stethoscopes in the wrong hands can be used... for murder.  

Seriously, nurses are awesome. Just like doctors, they have the sacred trust of providing medical help to those in needs. Not like doctors, nurses have to actually check your vitals, stick you in the arm if you need a shot, have to deal with an attack of hysteria when someone doesn't want to get a shot. (2)

(2) And here, I'm referring to no one in particular. Oh and let me take this opportunity to say "hi" to my daughter if she's reading this.

Nurses have to deal with blood, urine, excrement and vomit as a regular part of their job. Being a nurse is a stressful and dirty job and nurses get paid fuck all for doing it. Along with teachers, nurses' pay is definitely not in sync with the high level of responsibility they shoulder day in and day out. 

Maybe it's because nurses are mostly women. Nah, women like to help and nurture; it's in their nature. We don't need to pay them that much. I wonder if they'll work for free, you know, for the love of being a nurse?  

Yes, that's bullshit. Being a nurse may be a noble calling but it is also a job and people should be paid what they're worth for that job, regardless of what the job is and the gender of the person doing it. 

There are more men nurses now. My mom, a frequent customer of various medical services, likes male nurses. She is also, at 78 years old, still a bit of a flirt.  

But even when I was a teenage in high school looking to deciding what to do when high school was over (3), my mom suggested I should go to nursing school. 

(3) Other than hide in a corner of my room and cry. I was going to have to grow up. I was opposed to that but hey, who listens to me? 

Please understand at this point I had lived with my mom all of my life. I'm reasonably sure she was there on day one. You would think she would know me pretty well. I had absolutely no fortitude when it came to dealing with the human body. When I was in the 4th grade, I fainted while my class was singing that song about which bones are connected to other bones. Just thinking about the human skeleton made me dizzy. 

Yet she suggested I go to nursing school. 

She may have suggested this not because she thought I had an aptitude for it (4) but because she thought I might have a special place in our town's newspaper. 

(4) Spoiler: no, I didn't.

Every year, the local paper would publish a picture of the graduating class from the area community college's nursing program. In about 4 long rows were young women in clean white uniforms. And over in the right corner, off to the side, stood one guy. One solitary male nursing student graduating to the big time, the real world, the glory of dealing with blood and vomit. (5) 

(5) Oh, I'm getting dizzy thinking about it. Sorry.

Mom thought that maybe, just maybe, I could be that one guy. 

I disagreed. 

Let's move ahead. 

A few years later, I was home from college taking a break from my hard sought pursuit of a liberal arts degree in broadcast communications. (6)

(6) Great choice, Dave-El!
Am I being sarcastic with myself?
Me? Being sarcastic? With myself? Nooooooo! 

I glanced through the local paper. The class of students who started after I graduated from high school were now graduating from the community college nursing program. In about 4 long rows were young women in clean white uniforms. And over in the right corner, off to the side, stood...

No one. 

There was no guy. 

There. Was. No. Guy!

If I had gone into that nursing program right after high school and assuming I didn't totally wuss on day one (7), I would've been... the guy. The one guy. The one nurse guy! 

(7) I would've totally wussed out. 

Did I miss a date with destiny? Nah, it can't be. All the amazing qualities that makes up a nurse, I have none of them! I don't want to be around sick people! I don't want to get blood and vomit on me! I don't want to stick needles in people! And I don't think I would look good in scrubs! It's just not my style. Oh, I forgot compassion. Because I don't have any. 

OK, I have some but just enough to keep me from being a sociopath (mostly). But nurses, the really good ones, need to have compassion.  

No, that was not my date with destiny I missed. It takes stronger, smarter, kinder people than I to be a nurse. And to nurses everywhere, I salute you! You deserve recognition and respect. And yes, damn you ladies on the View, nurses deserve to wear that stethoscope. 

Everyone, be good to one another. 


Nurses can also be comic book heroes. Check out this cover to Night Nurse#1 from back in the day. 


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