Nurses are the point of compassion

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Two nurses that cared for an ebola patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas,
TX became the focus of news when they were diagnosed with the disease. (YouTube)

I question whether or not academia prepares us for anything at all. Of course, that depends on whether or not we have teachers who accept the fact that they must be challenged and must challenge themselves to and by the individual needs of their students. Doctors go to school, for many years, such that they can specialize in any field of medicine – just as lawyers go to school, for many years, such that they can specialize in any field of law.

For example, some people who become federal prosecutors – and succeed in that line of work – start out as anything from defense attorneys to divorce attorneys. My primary focus here remains that medical schools might teach ethics, but that medical schools do not seem to demand “bedside manner” – in that nurses seem to provide that meaningful service more so than doctors. Men, it seems, might make for the best nurses in any given situation – panic stricken or demanding of humor – considering that the profession was not forced on them by sexism, history or society.

The pressure to balance between the calm, professional doctor and the arrogant doctor must, it seems, fall onto the shoulders of nurses. In other words, if not for nurses, medicine itself would be an impossible and insufferable experience. Far too many people enter the medical profession in search of power over others. Nurses do not enter the profession to wield power – they do not have that much power to wield – but they remain and are the necessary balance. Imagine yourself in an operating room with doctors, yes. But, now pretend that there aren’t any nurses there to assist. Scary thought!

Nurses protest in support of their fellow nurses being blamed for the ebola virus being spread in the U.S. (YouTube)
Nurses protest in support of their fellow nurses being blamed for the ebola virus being spread in the U.S.

There should be psychiatric exams for those who wish to become psychiatrists. There should be psychological exams for those who wish to become surgeons. What we call “modern medicine” amounts to nothing more than the lack of bedside manner from bad doctors and their otherwise expertise in what I call “static theory.” Just consider that those who seek to become soldiers or police officers go through a battery of tests to determine that John Wayne movies would not be the model of their behavior!

As for “static theory,” the surgeon about to operate on somebody’s brain might encounter all kinds of dilemmas that medical school did not prepare him (or her) for – such that theory becomes static. Life sometimes throws a wrench in our bicycle wheels and the term “standard operating procedure” must thereby be considered a misnomer.

Nurses, experience both the actions and words of patients in full. Doctors, working from ivory tower knowledge and experiences they might reject by virtue of that same knowledge, need to recognize – as teachers must recognize – that knowledge prepares us for challenges so that life and our beliefs not become static.

Doctors hold positions of authority that can become void of compassion. Nurses are the compassion that maintains the authority of proper doctors. After all, nurses prepare or “prep” people for surgeries of all kinds. They are the perfect metaphor for the fact that modesty and work ethic must rule the day – if, anything profound or bold is to be accomplished. If I were a nurse, I would hate doctors and they would hate me. Then again, I would have been a skilled and verifiably talented nurse.