|I was almost infected with greed fever|
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.