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    Saturday, July 13, 2002

    Lectured by Committees, preached at by chaplains, scowled on by treasurers and stewards, scolded by matrons, sworn at by surgeons, bullied by dressers, grumbled at and abused by patients, insulted if old and ill-favored, talked flippantly to if middle-aged and good humoured, seduced if young...
    -Anonymous quote, 1857, on the lot of nurses

    Moira Breen and Anne Wilson come to the defense of the nursing profession against Stanley Kurtz, who seems to think that nursing is a distinctly feminine field, and that it’s the femininists who are responsible for the nursing shortage. Au contraire, Mr.Kurtz. Anne Wilson does a wonderful job of disabusing him of that notion. Reading it reminded me of one of my favorite nurses. I say favorite, because this particular nurse is one of the best nurses I have ever dealt with: observant, conscientious, diligent, a true patient advocate, and a man. Not only is he a man, he’s about the least feminine and nuturing man I’ve ever met. He favors motorcycles and muscle shirts, he’s an unapologetic womanizer in his private life, and he has no interest in settling down with a wife and family. Yet, for all that, in his professional capacity as a nurse he’s beyond compare.

    Nurses aren’t there to wipe a brow and hold a hand. They’re there to monitor the patient’s disease or post-op course, to interpret signs and symptoms and know when there’s a problem that needs attention, to make sure drugs are mixed and given properly, and to make sure wounds are dressed and healing properly. They can’t rely on goodness and mercy to do their job well, they have to have a good grounding in the basics of medicine. Anyone who doubts that only has to spend a few hours on a hospital floor and observe the difference between the nurse’s aide and the registered nurse. A nurse can recognize problems early on, the nurse’s aide isn’t likely to recognize them at all. Unfortunately, hospitals are hiring more aides and fewer nurses to cut costs, and therein lies the problem.

    Besides, where is it written that nurturing is a specifically feminine virtue?

    posted by Sydney on 7/13/2002 08:10:00 PM 0 comments


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