Saturday, August 25, 2012

Nurses Treat People

Orientation lasted all of this past week, and by Wednesday late afternoon, we were fading fast.  Put 82 nervous, exhausted, hyper-caffeinated and tremendously awkward graduate school students in a windowless lecture room for three days straight, eight hours a day, and by the third day, it will all start to fall apart.  By the time we had been herded into room 118 one more time for this, our last presentation of the day, nobody much cared who it was we were listening to.  Turned out it was the chief of police, which meant we all sat up marginally straighter and propped our eyelids open with a little more effort.  The chief of the New Haven police department spoke, and then so did the chief of Yale Police, and then we watched a slideshow about how to use the emergency call boxes, and then we heard a speech about not walking and texting (yes, I'm serious), and then it was almost 5 PM and we all wanted to cry.  My butt was numb.  I was starving.  The room had started to quiver as people furtively began gathering their things as it became clear that the presentation was coming to an end.  The chief of New Haven police stood up one more time, a burly and intimidating man to say the least.

"I want to say one more thing, before we go."  The shuffling got more furtive, and a few whispers were shushed.
"I have to tell you all, we do at least thirty presentations like this at the beginning of each academic year, and I mean it when I say this to you - this, coming here to speak to you all, is my absolute favorite."

The shuffling stopped.  Silence fell.

"I've been a cop for more than thirty years, and there are two kinds of people that I respect more than anybody else: my fellow officers, and nurses.  I've known a lot of nurses.  Hell, most of the cops I know are married to nurses.  We go into these fields for the same reason - we want to help people and keep them safe.  There will be people that don't appreciate what you do, just like there are people that don't appreciate what cops do for them.  Don't ever think that I - or any of my fellow officers - are one of them.  What you all, as nurses do for people is beyond anything I could imagine.  I talk to doctors, to surgeons, to the incoming medical school students every fall - let me tell you, there is no one, no one like you all.  Don't you ever forget what a special job you all have.  You have the respect of me, and every single one of my fellow officers.  We all know that the saying is as true as they come: doctors may treat patients, but nurses - nurses treat people.  Thank you for your service.  We are all so grateful."

The silence rang long after he finished, and there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

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