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You Gotta Be Kidding Me

OK, I admit it: I did not grow up planning to be a Registered Nurse, it wasn't on my dance card during elementary school, puberty, high school, or even the first two years I spent in college. Things happened, my Rich Uncle Sam gave me an all-expenses-paid scenic tour of the world and all I had to do was take care of people who got hurt or sick. I learned there's something pretty cool about helping people out that way, and even though I knew the day would eventually come when I would say, "I've had enough of sick people now," I became a Registered Nurse.

If I do say so myself, a fairly good one, and one who believes that enriching the profession as a whole is part and parcel of what and who I am as a Registered Nurse. Could just be that I grew up in the Boomer Generation, and we (as a whole) catch some of that work ethic thingy. Still, the leap to paraphrase J.F.K.'s quote "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country," into what I can do for my profession proved a very short step rather than anything difficult.

Keep these thoughts in mind: the average age of a Registered Nurse is now around 48 (particularly true of RN's who practice in the Operating Room, as I do), and there is a shortage of Registered Nurses across the board. This includes faculty at schools of nursing to teach new nurses, and nurses who are practicing. This shortage is so severe that numerous locations are looking at ways and means to hire non-nursing unliceneced personnel to provide professional nursing care. Think about that, oh ye who are or will be receiving health care...

So, a colleague, mentor, friend of mine points out this little bit of sensationalism.


Dr. Phil McGraw,

I will state up front I don't watch your show; usually I'm at work during the time it airs locally. So I'm working off of reports from friends and from colleagues on this.

So, I need to ask. Did you indeed state this during your November 18 show?
"This is a nurse, with a doctor. Now, you know, I spent--I spent a lot of years in the health care delivery system, and I watched doctors and nurses play footsie back and forth. And I watched doctors whose wives worked, put them through medical school, all this, and they come up there with a cute little nurse and they start playing footsie with her. I've seen lots of cute little nurses go after doctors, because they're going to seduce and marry them a doctor, because that's their ticket out of having to work as a nurse."

Because, you know, I spent around 31 years in health care now, 24 of those years as a Registered Nurse. I don't think "cute" exactly applies to me, I'm quite quite sure "little" does not apply, I'm not married to a doctor, and I'm not looking for a ticket out of working as a nurse. On the contrary, I'm rather concerned about putting the best image forward for the Nursing Profession, in order to encourage more people, and particularly young people, to enter a profession which is now and has been experiencing a shortage for the past, oh, at least 24 years.

Yes, I've seen doctors and nurses establish relationships outside of the health care setting. In fact, my aunt (a Registered Nurse) married a physician, don't recall the number of years but better than 50 when the clause "death do us part" became effective. You know, my mother-in-law (a Registered Nurse) married a physician too. Forty-six years until that same clause applied. I already mentioned I didn't marry a physician, but just for the record, it's 17 years and counting and that clause still isn't applicable. Neither of my sisters (both Registered Nurses) married physicians either.

Why, I've just completed an informal survey amongst my colleagues here in the Operating Room, which includes our Post-anesthesia Care Unit (139 Registered Nurses all together), and less than 2% are married to physicians. Well, OK, one is married to a doctor of veterinary medicine.

I fully understand that sensationalism sells. I am none the less more than disgusted that someone who "spent a lot of years in the health care delivery system" would dispense the sort of sensationalism which casts such an unprofessional light on his professional colleagues. But then again, you've already found your ticket out of having to work in the health care delivery system.

Thomas J. Macheski, RN, BSN, CNOR



It may not make any difference at all. On the other hand, it's one of those things I care about.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
starcat_jewel
Nov. 29th, 2004 10:35 pm (UTC)
Love that last line! A perfect ironic bitchslap. May it do some good.

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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