Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I ran into a bunch of students today at the hospital. It's pretty easy to tell how far along they are. The bags under the eyes are usually a pretty good barometer. Hair too, not much time for styling when you're cramming to be a doc or a nurse. Today's batch was as fresh as they come. Slim, stylish kids in lab coats, makeup all done, hair all pretty (guys too). I showed them through some of our space and watched them soak it all up like they were on the set of a TV show.

I ran into one of them later on after work. She said she was changing majors. I said that was probably a good idea if you weren't positive you wanted to run yourself into the ground for the sake of your fellow man.

Nursing's hard on a girl. You see a flock of nursing students flutter by on a tour, all sweet smelling with their hair all perfect and it's kind of awe inspiring to know that (possibly unwittingly) they're going to sacrifice their youth and good looks in order to keep the meds flowing and the bed pans squared away. (I know that's putting it extremely mildly, nurses, it's only for the sake of brevity.)

It's even more inspiring to see the real nurses. Overweight because despite being physically demanding the work isn't much for cardio and let's face it, the gym? After a day on the unit? Hair in a pony tail, joints aching, baggage from the stress tucked somewhere out of site. And no thought except for the comfort of their patients. People who call nurses angels are mistaken, God probably doesn't make angels work a double during flu season.

Anyway, it had me waxing all thoughtful about the passing beauty of youth and the true beauty of a life spent in service of your fellow human beings. Next time you see a nurse who is by all outward appearances un-lovely, keep it firmly in mind that she took a pass on another career with less wear and tear and better outfits to give comfort to often ungrateful patients.

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3 comments:

Jim Styro said...

Nicely stated. I know that I would not want a job where the stakes were so high - that is, the health and well-being, and sometimes the lives, of other people depended on me doing everything right.

I have certainly heard about the other side of this coin (where nurses have gotten burned out, no longer really had their patients' best interests at heart, were surly & unhelpful) - but a skilled, caring nurse is worth her (or his) weight in gold.

Sandy said...

I have several nurses among my friends and acquaintances and they have nothing but my love and respect. I haven't needed much nursing care yet, my time will come, but I have seen my mother on the receiving end of many over the years and I still think it's a 'calling.'

Coelecanth said...

My mother worked as an admin in a hospital for decades. She told me at a young age that if I ever gave a nurse any grief she'd make sure they never found my body.

Even the surly, unhelpful ones have my respect. Most of them got that way through the beating the job gives them and as such deserve our patience and forgiveness.