Here is what I know about nurses in year two of my practice: We are the strongest threads in our community quilt. Binding the diversity of incomes, ages, and cultures together with help, healing, and unconditional (sometimes tough) love.
We can simultaneously hold a cynical view of our fellow man and have the deepest reservoir of hope in humankind. That is to say we will complain bitterly while suffering twelve hours of abuse by a certain patient, and then stay four more hours to see them through when their condition deteriorates. We need to see them through.
If I am your nurse, you are my very own one. I will protect you, I will defend you, I will advocate for you. I’ll go toe to toe with the provider who endowed my hospital if I feel you are being hurt. If you need it, I might even bring you secret coffee from my very own stash. You must know—it is to you I will always be true. Not because you’re nice, though please consider being nice, but because you’re mine. If the building caught on fire I’d sling you over my shoulder and carry you down the stairs. (This isn’t policy, just a metaphor. Trust we have better evacuation plans). I’m not special. I’m “just a nurse.”
I’ll recognize you when I see you out in the world and under light less harsh than hospital fluorescents, but you likely won’t remember me. I don’t need you to. I’m one of many clad-alike interlopers palpating and auscultating and delivering medication. Our time together is sacred and secret. I’ll acknowledge your return to health in silence, with a smile that is overjoyed to see the color in your cheeks. You’re back at work or running the aisle of the grocery after your wild, beautiful children. My chest fills with pride as I think: She’s one of mine! Look at her, so well!
I don’t know any nurse who feels differently. We are for patients. What a noble group of people to share a name with. Every day I find time to do a little jig of joy to celebrate my membership in this club of tough, tender advocates for humans. Doing work that cares little for glory and much for justice. It’s the only gift I want.
Happy nurses week to all of you, you magnificent beings.
In the old days, when we were in need of entertainment my spouse might offer up this question:
“What time in history would you most like to live in?”
“Do I get to be a man? Cause if not I’m not going anywhere.”
I like that I can own property. Maybe I will someday! I am grateful for the sacrifices made by many over the centuries opening vast realms of what was a man’s world to all life creating, cycling with a m-fing celestial body human women.
Nursing is to its core, in all the best and all the worst ways, a traditional women’s profession. Essential parts of a critical care training I did today included tactics for manipulating a provider into completing a task (use their pride), how hard work is mandatory and don’t count on being recognized, and the importance of your intuition. These things I will happily lean into in the workplace. I love women’s work. But God help me I’m going to elevate it. I want recognition with my effort. I want power with my responsibility.
But hey. Now I find the great quandry of the woman in her childbearing years is all up on me. I can’t be all the nurse I want to be, and I can’t be all mother.
When I’m woe is me I turn to my fav lady sage, Madeleine Albright, who I liked before she said that there was a special place in hell for women who didn’t help each other. Now I love her.
I subscribe to her advice (actually I keep a clip from the American Master’s film Women of her on my phone so I always have a little guru with me). You can have everything. But not at the same time. Women’s lives come in segments. Also you do not have time turn this into a Vimeo clip so you video the thing and post it on your dusty old blog.
Happy Women’s Day!
Today I marched into my OB’s office and got myself a shiny new long acting reversible contraception/LARC installed. I keep calling it a LARP but that’s another thing entirely. IUDs/LARCs are 99% effective at preventing pregnancy and perfect use is pretty much guaranteed. No missed pills or whoopsies with the condom. The hormonal IUD delivers the smallest dose of progesterone available reducing little discussed but potentially catastrophic side effect of thrombosis attributed to the higher dose hormones in the pill. LARCs are now recommended as first line contraception to sexually active adolescents as well. They are the second coming of female birth control (if you want to get all sacrilegious about it).
My first LARC back in 2010 cost about $250 with insurance. How much was today’s? Zero dollars. Not even a co-pay. ACA preventative care, my dove.
Contraception: Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling, as prescribed by a health care provider for women with reproductive capacity (not including abortifacient drugs). This does not apply to health plans sponsored by certain exempt “religious employers.”
(AHEM HOBBY LOBBY). So no access for employees on their health plans.
But back to my day: whimmy wham wham wazzle no unintended pregnancy for me, no paying for unintended pregnancy for my insurance company. As my bestie CB has been known to say, THANKS OBAMA!
Seriously though let’s lean in on male BC ’cause I love not getting pregnant but I feel like I got punched in the uterus right now (that lasts about 48 hrs).
***Remember kids, only barrier methods can protect you from STDs***
How does it make sense that universities are responsible for adjudicating sexual assaults on campus? Well, Title IX and US Supreme Court rulings dating back to the 1970s. Read the article, it explains the why and makes clear just how short UVA and others are coming up in complying with the mandate. Ugh.
via No, We Can’t Just Leave College Sexual Assault to the Police – Alexandra Brodsky and Elizabeth Deutsch – POLITICO Magazine.
What Alexander helped to establish, then, is that campus rape is not just a crime but also an impediment to a continued education—and to subsequent success in the workplace and public life. That means that Title IX’s protections are necessary for an individual student’s learning opportunities and for gender equality throughout American life. If sexual violence goes unaddressed at universities, women will face unconscionable obstacles to education, professional success and full citizenship.
I spent all day yesterday and half of today at the hospital, then the other half of today writing a paper about my profession, then came home and watched this 26 min documentary about the future of nursing. I am so thoroughly in brainwashed/in love (that’s the same thing, right?).
I’m on board with all of this nurses are the answer messaging. But the very last line hits a sour note:
“Wake up public, you vote us most trusted profession but we need your support to be all that we need to be.”
THUMBS DOWN. Don’t spend twenty minutes talking about how we are natural fixers of problems then lob the biggest one we have, our fractured image, into the lap of the public.
Wake up faculty. Teach young nurses that it is absolutely their professional obligation to speak up for their patients. Not just in the hospital. Take that noise to the press, the internet, the state house.
Wake up nurses. That trust we get from the public is sacred. Earn it by being conscientious, whip-smart, and brave. And be public about it.
Consider this post one of innumerable on women in the medical field.
The MD-RN dynamic is old saw (sidebar–the no. 1 problem with RN retention at my health system is “I need to move to find a man.” Take heed undergrads, the be-a-nurse-marry-a-doctor plan is not working out). As health systems move toward the team model of care we nursing pups are told that the doc is not your boss. Administratively speaking this is true. In practice getting chewed out by a doc is one of a new grad’s greatest fears. The power differential is entrenched.
One of my classmates brought up a super prescient question this past semester while we had the ear of an old school doc who battled it out in the 1960s as the only female member of her med school class. What is going to happen to MD-RN relationships now that near 50% of med school grads are women? The doc sidestepped the question (which was, of course, a landmine), but did share a thought worth repeating: in the US, as the prestige of being a doctor declines the number of women entering the profession increases. This isn’t coincidence. Either as prestige drops more women are viewing medicine as something that they are capable of OR as more women become doctors the stock price on an MD drops (see teachers, secretaries). To both of those possibilities I give a big eye roll-y OH BROTHER.