Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A Student Nurse Physician Tribute

"A multitude of physicians and surgeons have drifted into the lives of student nurses in our graduating class. It was easy to differentiate between the physician who was to be a trifle careless in his dress, slow in speech, and the surgeon on the othr hand tended to talk swiftly, dress meticulously, and gesture boldly. But physician and surgeon alike, we nurses feel that so rare an opportunity to give well-earned praise, must not
be overlooked.

We have seen their ceaseless, unselfish effort to lessen pain and bring a smile to those suffering, and many of us have learned valuable lessons in caring for the sick by their examples.

There is no process which can reckon up the amount of good which medical art and science has conferred upon the human race. There is no moral calculus that can grasp and comprehend the sum of their beneficient  ministrations. They have dispelled the gloom of the sick room. They have called back the radiance of the lusterless eye and the bloom of their fading cheek.

And finally when exhausted in all other resources and baffled in their skill, handmaid of religion and philosophy, they have blunted the arrows of death and rendered less rugged and precipitous the putting to the tomb."


I found this quaint and touching tribute in a 1950's nursing yearbook. Physicians were indeed apex predators at the top of the hospital food chain. It was reassuring to know who was really in charge of things. There were no patient satisfaction surveys or utilization review nurses telling doctors what to do. Medicine was a proud, respected profession and physicians were not cogs in the wheels of a health care system.

As a nurse, if you provided a valued service to a physician, you had job security. I was not overly concerned with Alice, my supervisor in the OR because I knew Dr. Slambow would always stand up for me because to him, I was valued as a scrub nurse. It was a nice feeling.

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