One thing I am noticing as a student nurse midwife is how loud nurses are. Wow. I’m not sure I am liking how this comes off. I’d imagine to visitors it appears that we can be a bunch of obnoxious goons that would prefer to eat chips and salsa while reading People magazine and gossiping. Yikes. I’d be pretty leary of the likes of us if I were one of them.
Yet I am not immune to this. When I am at work, I love when we have a moment to sit down together at the desk and trade stories and laugh our asses off. It’s fun; it makes our horrible days more bearable. I’m just as loud as any of the nurses at my clinical site.
One thing this has made me acutely aware of is how our nurse’s station is designed. Our secretary, who is the check point to any woman coming in for one reason or another, sits just in front of our nurse’s station. It’s essentially a pod like area with some tables and counter space that is halfway enclosed with glass walls. It’s not sound-proof, yet we act like it is.
I can think of countless times when a woman, who has not called her doctor to say she is coming in, just shows up at our front desk with one complaint (or more) or another. The secretary, who is always informed of who to expect at her desk, will come back to our desk and say, “So and So is here from Dr. Y’s practice. Says she’s having pain. Did anyone know she was coming?” Of which we all turn to look at poor So and So and size her up, see if she’s smiling (many times she is) and declare that my ass she has pain (a famous line by the charge nurse) and drag her feet to the triage room. There usually are many other comments from the other nurses, none of which are even said in something resembling a stage whisper. We might as well get ourselves a megaphone.
It also makes me think of the poor little medical students (many of whom are not poor nor little but they are all younger than me so as far as I’m concerned they are babies in some way) that enter our nurse’s station ever so hesitantly and when they find enough courage to cross the threshold shrink into a broken chair and slide into a corner. Is it because of us? Are we big and scary to them?
On the other hand, we have had a few that have no problems staking their territory like a male alley cat and over-powering the attending. But that’s another story.
So, what’s my point? I guess I am getting more than a nurse midwifery education here. I am finding that stepping out of the RN role makes me look at everything so differently.