Sometimes it seems nurses are the Rodney Dangerfields of healthcare: They just don’t get no respect. But a couple of recent events, falling close to National Nurses Week, showed nurses standing up for their own and winning.
First came the tale of Washington state Sen. Maureen Walsh, who stepped in it when she claimed nurses in small rural hospitals “probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day.” Her remarks came while debating a bill that would mandate uninterrupted lunch breaks and rest periods for all hospital nurses.
Then the nurses struck back—by mailing Walsh more than 1,700 decks of cards and turning out in force at the state Legislature. The bill passed and at deadline was awaiting Gov. Jay Inslee’s signature. As for Walsh, she agreed to spend a 12-hour shift shadowing a nurse and apologized: “I wish I could reel that comment back in. I certainly did not mean to imply that my nurses sit around playing cards all day.”
Then there was the National Health Service nurse who ran the London Marathon, hoping to set a world record for fastest time by a woman wearing a nurses uniform. But it seemed the folks at Guinness World Records had a different conception of nurse wear: a dress with an apron and traditional nurses hat.
Again, an uproar followed, with a storm of social media posts showing #WhatNursesWear. And Guinness reconsidered.
“It has become quite clear to Guinness World Records that our guidelines for the fastest marathon wearing a nurse’s uniform were outdated, incorrect and reflected a stereotype we do not in any way wish to perpetuate,” the company said in a statement.
So what have we learned? Dis nurses at your own peril.