Tales of a ‘Murse’
Howdy folks, my name is Terry. I'm a student nurse practitioner and this is my introductory blog post. Let's talk about "murses."
Do you like Steven Seagal films from the early ‘90s? Who doesn't! In a lot of his movies, there seemed to be an inevitable scene in which Glitter Man himself would walk into a bar and a big drunk dude would growl: "Hey buddy, nice pony tail! Where's your skirt?" BAM! Seagal throws him through a plate glass window to prove how manly long hair is. That guy - the one going through the window - I look like him.
I'm not a no-carb, soy-latte murse who looks great in Grey's Anatomy scrubs. I'm not an intense, post-paramedic murse who looks longingly out the med surg window whenever an ambulance comes in. I'm one of those gentle giant types. You know, the human equivalent of a Hoyer lift. How big am I? If you've worked a floor with me ... I've been in your way.
Schoolwise, I'm halfway through my first year of an accelerated nurse practitioner program. By the end of this year I'll have my equivalency and be working toward an NP degree with the eventual goal of manning a clinic on some lonely island, or burning the moles malignant off grandmas. Still working that out.
So what is the main theme of my blogging? Right. I've observed a teensy weensy gender bias in nursing programs. Now don't everyone gasp at once and pull all the oxygen out of the Internet. I'm not here to blind you with the obvious. I just want to make sure we are all starting at the same chapter in gender relations.
Where do I stand on the whole thing? Well, there is very little sympathy floating around for a big white guy experiencing good-natured sexism for the first time in his life. I have a professor who grins at me during lectures when she says things like, "We know, we KNOW ... you boys don't wash your hands after going to the bathroom." My clinical sisters poke fun at me as I stutter through teaching a new mother how to breastfeed for the first time. Etcetera...
This type of teasing is fun and healthy. To you men out there who resent it, I would suggest you reach back into your mind to the time you made a flirty joke in a professional situation that could be put in the same category. It is in the fight against this natural reaction to change in the workplace that I believe the unhealthy stuff rears its head. My experience is personal; I am in no way supporting gender discrimination of either sex. The human resources stuff should be reported and handled. I am merely promoting the use of humor and good will. Color me Hippie if you like.
This is why I like the designation "murse." To me, calling yourself a murse, while a trifle silly, acknowledges, in good humor, that things are changing genderwise in the profession of nursing. It also pays respect to the fact that those changes are going to be slow and hard on some folks. There are always awkwardness and hurt feelings in all systemic changes. Let us face them together with slightly inappropriate jokes and compassion. It is this kind of generosity of spirit that will allow some of you to forgive the rare occasion when I slip and leave the seat up in the bathroom of the nurses' lounge. What do you all think of the title "murse"? What gender issues are you facing at your program that can or cannot be lessened with humor? Comment below to let me know.