Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
I had a brush with the medical industrial complex recently. Nothing serious, but it did require a couple of nights in the ‘spital, so I got to experience the Leviathan from the inside.
What struck me most about it was this: Nurses rock.
I haven’t had much contact with hospitals in my life (I hadn’t been admitted to one since I was 14), so I didn’t really know what to expect, but from the moment they helped me into bed to the hour of my discharge two days later I witnessed a genuinely life-affirming display of professionalism, compassion, patience, understanding, teamwork, humor, and knowledge. I knew all those things were ideals, but to see them practiced in action by nearly everyone I came into contact with was eye-opening.
I also noticed the remarkable diversity in the staff, and that too was life-affirming to me. With our country in such disarray over immigration, white supremacy, and prejudice, I just wish every damn bigot in America had occasion to get rushed to an ER and admitted to a hospital for few days to see for themselves that people of all colors are indisputably equal. I was cared for by doctors and nurses of every imaginable ethnic background and every sort of personal experience. Many of them told me their stories as they went about their jobs. And many of them tried to connect with me, asking about my own story.
A few of them, like Gina, the day nurse on my floor, spent more time with me than others, so I got to know them a little better. I got the feeling that Gina was really invested in me, and that she and all the others believe they can make a difference. They’re gentle but determined. They tell you the truth. You don’t always want to hear the truth, but it’s their job to tell you, and because of the foundation of trust they build, you do hear it, and you take it seriously.
So on behalf of nurses and all the other medical professionals out there, those people of all stripes and cultures, I say screw bigotry, screw prejudice, screw anybody with an unearned superiority complex. Nurses rock, and we’re lucky to have these men and women to care for us.
If anyone is superior, it’s them.
(For some extra study, check out these slang terms that nurses use to get back at us ingrates.)