Dear Nurse Marge
Maybe I’m an idiot. I don’t know. But wouldn’t it be nice, if just once in a while, nurses actually STUCK UP for each other instead of stabbing each other in the back? You hear all the time about cops and the thin blue line, where they all watch out for each other. Where’s our thin white line?
Fed up, disgusted, and stressed out
Dear Fed Up
Oh, honey. If you’ve been a nurse for any time at all, you know where that thin white line is. It’s the same cord that doubles as a head-wound tourniquet, cinched tightly around the neck…getting tighter by the minute.
It’s true: conventional wisdom tells us nurses eat their young. But I know that there’s something conventional wisdom left out. Yes, we eat our young. But — and this is a big but — only if we have adequate supplies of barbecue sauce. Young nurse is bland. You’ve got to spice it up!
I’m going to tell you that the thin line — of whatever hue — always looks better from the outside. That mythic impenetrable wall of police brotherhood has holes you can drive a truck through — and there are nurses, good nurses, who have each other’s back, and help each other out through thick and thin, shift after shift after shift, year after year after year.
Why don’t we hear about this? In part, because ‘Nurses: We Eat Our Young!” makes a way better T-shirt than “Nurses: Supportive, Caring, Professional!” I’m picking up on a little bitterness in your question (just another example of the empathy that makes me the skilled nursing professional I am today!) and that may be because you’re in the middle of a bad situation right now. It will get better. Or you’ll get used to it, and you won’t care — never underestimate the therapeutic value of not getting caught up in the drama.
What is a line? A series of points, all positioned next to each other. If you want that thin white line, stand up and be a point. Sidestep all the nonsense, and be the kind of nurse — and the kind of person — you want to be. Surround yourself with other nurses who feel the same way. Each one of them is a point, too — and together, you’re forming that thin white line.