Monday, January 13, 2020

Were You Ever Afraid of Contracting Somthing From a Patient?

  I was almost infected with greed fever
Someone on Quora asked me if I was ever afraid of  contracting something from a patient and a plague of answers began swirling around  in what's left of my ancient cognitive vault. Hmm...was it Hepatitis C, influenza, or step throat? Well, no, something else suddenly came to mind and it did not involve a bacterium or virus. It was pure unadulterated greed. Something all too ubiquitous in today's healthcare world and as contagious as the most virulent virus.

As a novice nurse one of my patients was confined to a self imposed isolation in a private room on one of the nicer hospital units. He had a high forehead with bushy eyebrows and  a prominent jaw line that did not betray a hint of weakness or doubt. He had a definite presence about himself.  His name was Ray Kroc and the McDonalds restaurant empire was his brainchild. Billions and billions of burgers meant big bucks and a lifestyle ordinary folks could only dream about.

 The reason for his hospitalization was weight loss. One too many BigMacs had taken a toll on his waistline and rather than purchase a bigger belt he checked into the hospital for a carefully supervised dietary regimen. Rich people do strange things and a  huge monetary donation reserved his hospital bed. Money can buy anything.

He was very friendly and interested in the workings of a big city hospital. After hearing a few of my tales about hospital experiences he came up with a grand  proposition for me. His business sense told him there was a pent up demand for male nurses and not all that many nurses carried XY chromosomes. According to him, a nursing agency for male nurses could be quite lucrative with careful marketing.

I looked down at my lowly Timex watch and compared it to the gleaming Rolex on his fat wrist. Hmm, I thought, maybe I could swap my Raleigh Super Course bicycle for a motor vehicle. I was just about to contract a very bad case of greed as dollar signs danced in my head.

Then I came to my senses. Greed suppression was an integral component of nursing education. Nurses weren't supposed to have much of anything. The ANA code of ethics even prohibited RNs from endorsing any commercial products. All the nurse influencers of today would be in big trouble as money making was definitely not in the cards for a nurse. Nurses were supposed to be selfless caregivers often at their own expense.

I began to think of all the experiences I would miss if I were worried about my balance sheet instead of the names on a Kardex. Being well off financially disconnects you from the day to day activities  that define the experience of everyday folks. I would have missed out on the warmth and caring shown to me by a homeless person in the ER  when he taught me how to keep warm in a Chicago winter by wrapping layers of newspaper around my extremities. I hoped I would never need the skill, but the kindly way it was explained to me stayed with me. I can still see his warm smile.

When nurses leave a  patient's room after a failed code they seldom look back. Somehow I managed to corral my greed impulse and never looked back. An agency for male nurses sounded like a dubious proposition and, besides,  I always thought of myself just as a plain old nurse. No gender qualification needed.

8 comments:

  1. Oh OFRN thank you for giving me a laugh-out-loud moment when I read up to the Nursing Agency for Male Nurses! I had to break off for a minute there to recover... Oh dear that is why I have never been, and never will be, rich. I just can't see things in monetary ways like that either! Amazing.

    I did volunteer nursing for a while - no pay after hours work. I did it because I loved caring for people. I got taken aside by one family member who quizzed me on why anyone would work for no pay - especially the sort of work nurses did! I explained I did get paid, just not in money. He thought I was completely mad.

    Some people just don't get it do they? All our Rural Fire Fighters are still out there, fighting the terrible fires here for NO MONEY. Yesterday at the local veterinary surgery there were two women caring for a young kangaroo with both back legs badly burnt. They had it snuggled inside a doona and it looked like the skin was healing nicely. They belonged to an organisation here that cares for wildlife for NO MONEY.

    I guess we all must be mad OFRN! Good on you. Cheers, Sue.

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    1. Old school nurses provided care simply because it was the right thing to do. It was an honorable endeavor to help an extremely vulnerable population of folks without consideration of personal enrichment. That priceless feel good warm glow you felt inside made it all worth it.

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  2. Some folks seem to be born with dollar signs dancing in their heads. While I was never a nurse I was an EMT and a wildlife rehabilitator among other things, but my crappy day jobs are what paid the rent.

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    1. Wildlife needs all the help it can get and animals surely don't have deep pockets. Caring for animals must make you feel almost euphoric. Returning a healed critter back to their environment must be the same feeling as a nurse seeing a critically ill patient walk out the hospital door with family

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  3. I, too, am an associate OFN. Graduated from a diploma school in 1966. We were actually taught that we were expected to work even if the hospital couldn't pay us. ( before I retired in 2010, I had worked in the OR for 16 years & wish I had gone to the OR right after graduation. I loved it.)

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    1. I'm impressed by your longevity as a nurse. WOW..what a career! Crohns disease brought me to my knees after a couple of decades. When I look down at my varicose veins and arthritic knees pleasant memories of standing at my Mayo stand drift thorough my thoughts. Priceless indeed.

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  4. I think you made an excellent choice. But, hey, I'm an introvert and I can't stand the thought of not getting some down time each day.

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  5. Wow! this is Amazing! Do you know your hidden name meaning ? Click here to find your hidden name meaning

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