Wednesday, September 8, 2010
My name is Nurse Rench, and I will be your instructor in Elementary Nursing 101. I have been practicing since 1987, and have fought hard to stamp out the image of Sairy Gamp. If I could, I would plunge my sturdy digits into either side of her stout maw, rend her jawbone and upper palette from her despicable face, grind the bone with mortar and pestle, then bake it all into a meat cake to serve her for dinner. Figuratively, I should say, as that act would violate my role as a registered nurse.
Nursing sprang from the traditional role of women as sister, daughter, wife, mother and occasional prostitute for rent money. This was the female as caretaker of the home and the greater community. Men and the unmarried woman in the poor paying profession were treated like dirty, stupid, conniving, non-turn-signaling, thieving, unhygienic, no-tipping, toothless, puddle-splashing, leprous, balding, depraved, check-bouncing, chronically-masturbating criminals of low character and funky feet. This was partly true, but also a product of the typical patriarchal thinking of man-doctors protecting their withered, limp little reputations from the woman superior in her native realm. The popular redemption of nurses began with Florence Nightingale, whose sanitary techniques and well-rounded nursing theories saved many good soldiers from nose-picking, amputation happy mad "doctors" who should have stuck to their day job as barbers. Other wartime heroines continued this trend, and on through to the present, thanks to the representation of “Hot Lips” Houlihan and the esteemed Nurses Naughty, Ratched, Jackie, HawthoRNe and Chapel of the Starship Enterprise.
A patient is defined as a person who is under medical care or treatment. As the shortage of health care professionals against an ever-growing population calls for a better educated public, and as little time spent in hospital as possible, this term is increasingly narrow in usage. More commonly, we have consumers, a person or organization that uses a commodity or service. Rather than mute handmaidens or midwives consigned to the shadow of doctors, nurses now have the freedom of the rōnin, lordless samurai in service to homeopathy who must uphold the code of our profession until death, or else lose our honor and be condemned to eleven hells of our own design. We must ever aspire to be shōgun of health, upholding the best interests of our client, a person who engages the advice or services of a qualified professional.
Nurse! Stand at attention! Tell me what is the scope of nursing! To drive forth health and wellness, to crush illness, to restore the exaltation of the healthy, and to ease the lamentation of the dying! You may perform these duties in hospitals, but you might also roam from home to home, entertain the ambulatory at clinical pagoda, open your own dōjō, serve the misbegotten at community agencies, attended the dank temple of the dread lord HMO, or dwell like a noble vulture over extended care facilities for the aged and infirm. El Pien, you are tasked to act as an agent of change, afforded the responsibility which comes with the autonomy granted by whichever jurisdiction through which you pass. Seek the Nurse Practice Act of your territory, and know your own limitations. Understand that you must always observe the Standards of Nursing Practice, but mind the feudal lords of your region, who may make additional demands of your personage.
I am every woman. It is all in me. I am every nurse, and must function simultaneously in every functional capacity of my chosen profession. I am the caregiver, preserving the integrity of my client in mind, body and spirit, assuring their continued dignity and maintaining their esteem. I will restore my client to fullest greatness possible. I am the communicator, ears perked, eyes keen, nose sniffing, tongue clicking, fingers probing, and mind calculating all before me. I will comprehend-- I will determine-- I will rapport. I am the teacher, educating my client and their clan in the bushidō of vitality. My own inferior delegates will be wizened by my knowledge.I am ombudsman, an advocate to my client before physicians, kin, and whomever would deviate from their will. I shall be their steely tongue. I am the counselor, addressing their psychological and social stresses. Neither Svengali nor sycophant, I will see to their emotional and intellectual well-being. I am change agent, an explosive catalyst in the trench war, down with the sickness. I will drop like a hydrogen bomb in the land of confusion, abreast of advancements and options, obliterating our enemies. I am a leader, influencing all interested parties and directing them toward the optimal. I am a manager, spying upon and directing ancillary drones in service to the client. I am the case manager, part of a multidisciplinary team in assessing the effectiveness of our strategies. I am a research consumer, ever questing for the best services and developments for my client.
Nurse Potential, you as I must unrelentingly be a professional. This is an occupation requiring extensive education, exceptional knowledge, precise skill, careful preparation, and willingness to yoke oneself wholly to service as prescribed by our ethical and operational code. You are in the process of professionalization, but you cannot be a Professional until you embody our spirit, our character, our creed. You are allowed to profit from your services, but the service itself must be your paramount motivation. Whatever the personal cost, against all adversity, you must be conditioned to know your role. In nearly all circumstances, you will be the last acting agent, with the accountability of all resting on your shoulders. No attorney can defend you, no responsibility can be shirked. Atlas' shrug dooms all.
Enough. Our class time is over. Go read on your own time, for all of your time, or you will fail my class...
See also: American Nurses Association's STANDARDS OF PROFESSIONAL NURSING PRACTICE
National Student Nurses’ Association, Inc. Code of Academic and Clinical Conduct (PDF)
Benner's Stages of Clinical Competence, not to be confused with Banner's Stages of Gamma Radiation Exposure.