Recently, I have been working with several Nursing faculty in daily bases. Most of them used to be nurse practitioners before they got their phd and moved to academia. Sometimes, I have to sit for hours in meetings discussing different issue related to undergrad program. I enjoy working with them but it is frustrating when some people don’t stick to the meeting agenda. They are nurses and they love talking. They don’t realize that the agenda is already long enough. During one of those delightful discussions, M started telling what happened last week during one of her lectures.
Apparently, she was invited to talk about nursing during one of the multi-disciplinary seminars held by some programs on campus. The audience was undergrad students from different health sciences programs including nursing, occupation therapy, physiotherapy, kinesiology, etc. (I attended M’s lecture one time. I have to say she is charming, funny, and a skillful speaker). Anyway, she talked about the nursing profession and when it was time for questions, a student asked her that they heard nurses clean other people’s poop and whether that was correct. M respond was "yes, we sometimes clean poop." While everyone was laughing at this statement, she added: "we do different things for our patients. And yes it is embarrassing to clean someone else’s poop. Nurses often do a lot of intimate things for their patients. You could imagine how ill and disable someone should be that they can’t take care of their own poop. As much as this is embarrassing for a nurse to clean poop, you should imagine how more embarrassing can it get for the patients to see a nurse does that for them. When you put it in this context, I consider cleaning poop a class act."
At this point no one was laughing anymore. M said you could hear a pin drop.
I wish I could capture her story in these words and in a way her story deserves. I wish I could record her voice. I wish you could hear what I heard and how much M’s story affected me. I was almost in tears. While other people around the table were complimenting M on her powerful speech, I thought to myself that is a shame that nursing and nurses are so unappreciated everywhere.