The New York Times recently published a blog article by Theresa Brown, R.N., in which she describes the sometimes alarming nature of walls within the medical profession and how these walls can sometimes cause unbearable tension in hospital hallways. Any yet, her post relays the story of what happens when one of those walls come down, allowing nurses and other medical professionals to unite in a common task: caring for their patients.
Brown's piece opens by invoking Robert Frost's poem "Fences," which introduces the theme of walls between neighbors. She then talks about how areas in which nurses work in oncology are separated. She writes, "There's 'med onc' and 'surg onc,' and never the twain shall meet."
All of this was true for her until she met a patient with a blood disease who needed an immediate operation to repair a hole in her intestine. What followed that discovery was a story in which she and a surgeon were able to come together and smoothly and efficiently care for the patient. She found that after that experience, the walls that were constant throughout the hospital were not so strong, and she was able to surmount them in order to care for another human.
The entire story is worth a read, which you can see here, and it got me thinking: what are others ways that nurses can unite and break down barriers within the profession? What are some walls that continue to blockade various nurses from fully uniting as a group and exerting their influence in the health care world?
For me, as someone who often writes about nursing schools, the gender issue is the one that most greatly affects the acceptance of males in the nursing world, and is thus a huge wall to overcome. Fortunately, there has been much headway made towards making male nurses more welcome in the profession, especially in how nursing programs have shifted their admission materials to be more attuned to the needs of male nursing students. As this has happened, we have seen the number of male nurses dramatically. Of course, there is much more we can do.
But what? When you see these walls in your nursing profession, what ideas do you have for continuing to break them down and unite together?