Dear Nurse Marge,
So, there was this whole Balloon Boy caper, where supposedly a small boy was airborne in a spaceship-shaped air balloon that went careening through the Colorado skies. The boy wasn’t actually in there, and it all turned out to be a hoax.
While it was happening, of course, it was the MAJOR topic of conversation in our practice. We’ve got a TV in the waiting room, all the patients were watching it, and maybe we snuck a peek or two here and there.
Here’s the thing. Almost 100% of our patients believed in the Balloon Boy. NONE of the nurses did. Not a single one. Why is that?
We came up with some theories, of course. Our patients tend to be elderly and a little on the gullible side. This was on the news, so surely it must be true! And of course, our nursing educations gave us an edge when it came to figuring out that that balloon wasn’t large enough to support a six year old child.
The office manager said it’s because nurses are just cynical by nature, while ‘civilians’ trust more.
What do you think it is?
Flights of Fancy
Did you forget that I too went to nursing school? It may have been a while, but I remember Jean Watson and to inflate the balloon after insertion, not before…but not a single solitary class on the weight-bearing qualities of experimental aircraft! Nice try, though — do that where the ‘civilians’ can hear, though, and they’re going to wonder why we can’t do something like ‘just authorize a few more refills on my prescription!’
Are nurses by nature more cynical? Absolutely not. That would imply that we were born this way, and completely overlook the years of experience, education, and most of all, repeated exposure to patients that helped us develop a cynical outlook on life. When you’ve seen multiple lacerations from a knife ‘no one noticed in the sink’ or accidental gunshot wounds that resulted from someone cleaning their gun — that got ‘em from behind! you become cynical. So many people walk into doors or accidentally induce alcohol poisoning that it’s hard to take any claims at face value. Why should a giant silver balloon be the most logical reason for a child to go missing?
It’s not cynicism.