Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Calling All Nurse Dorks

Those of you who know me, know I'm a dork.  I get called a dork at least once a day.  Mostly by my husband, but also by my other family members and by friends.  ALL of the nurses I have ever worked with have thought or said "what a dork" about me at one time or another. 

Most of my dorkiness comes from my odd interest in the culture of nursing.  The language, the gestures, the understanding, and the rituals are fascinating to me. 

I recently discovered Zane Robinson Wolf and her books.  The one above is, I believe, no longer being printed, but I found a used copy.  It's from 1988 - doesn't seem that long ago to me, but I guess it is.  This book is based on her doctoral dissertation and is an observation of one nursing unit over time.  It reads a little like a soap opera.  I was starting my first hospital job as an RN around the time the observations were made, so I could totally relate to it.

Zane contends that nursing within hospitals is a "quasi-religion" and identifies rituals sacred to nursing but which occur in the most profane manner.  Que harp music and angels singing - I found the mother ship! 

One of the rituals Zane discusses is that of post-mortem care.  In the book, she shares this photo:

It's from an old shroud kit and I totally remember these.  We used to have to tie the hands and feet together and put a chin strap on the body before closing the shroud.  Why did we do that?  Does anyone still do that?  The last hospital I worked at didn't even have shrouds (I don't think, I never saw any). 

Fascinating book.  Mandatory reading for nurse dorks.

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