Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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Happy Nursing Week!

Throughout my life, I have worked with a lot of nurses.   My first experience was when I was a kid and I volunteered as a candy striper.  Like many kids who are deemed “smart,” I wanted to be the other kind of doctor when I grew up and, knowing that one needed to have volunteer work on their resume to get into med school, I started volunteering at the local hospital.  Now, it didn’t occur to me until many, many years later1 that in all the time that I volunteered at that hospital2 I never once saw a doctor.  I’m sure the doctors did their rounds earlier in the day and by the time the teenage volunteers were at the hospital for their after school shifts, the docs were long gone.  So all that time I was working with the nurses3.  And I learned what a truly exceptional profession nursing was.  This was especially noticeable on the rare occasion when you’d get a bad nurse on your shift – it made you truly appreciate the compassion of the (vast majority) of great nurses!

When I went off to university, by totally fluke, I ended up with a work-study job in the School of Nursing. In order to get a work-study job, you had to be on student loans.  The student loans office screwed up my paperwork4 which meant that they wouldn’t process my work-study application until they had my student loans sorted out, by which time almost all the work-study positions had been filled.  One of the very few unfilled positions was a re-posted position as a research assistant in the School of Nursing, which I got.  So again, I worked with nurses.  In fact, I liked that job so much that I held for three years, including two summers, and I even took a nursing course5 during that time.  And working with this group reinforced what I’d learned through my volunteer work – nursing is a critical profession in our health care system and nurses are, on the whole, a dedicated, intelligent and compassionate group of people.

In my current job, my office is located in a health unit with a fantastic group of nurses.  To see the great work being done by nurses every day is inspiring and to hear about the passion they have for their work – and the compassion they have for their patients – makes me proud to be associated with them, even if only tangentially.

So Happy Nursing Week to all the wonderful nurses out there!

Image Credit: Posted by East Lothian Museums on Flickr.

  1. i.e., right now []
  2. which was 2 years? 3 years?  maybe 4? []
  3. as it turned out, I really enjoyed – and gained  a lot – from working with those patients and it didn’t matter that I didn’t interact with any docs []
  4. the first, but certainly not the last, time my student loan papers would be screwed up.  Funny how they can find 16 different ways to screw up your paperwork that delay you getting your student loan money, but they never once screwed up the paperwork in such a way that they accidentally pay off all your loans for you. []
  5. Nursing and Health Care Leadership & Management – which was a great course, actually *and* which I got to take for free as I received a bursary to cover the tuition fees for it []


#18 – I have blog title writer’s block!

So I wrote this whole posting assuming that as I wrote a title would come to me (as they usual do).  But no so much.

The BC Healthy Living Alliance, who you may remember from such blog postings as this one, tweeted about this article the other day:

Focus on people, firms told
Vital to invest in workers’ health, expert says

Basically, it’s talking about how companies should make small changes in the workplace to promote employee health because not only will it help people be healthier (which probably isn’t of concern to many companies), but it will also save them money (which is probably more what they care about).

In particular, I thought this was pretty interesting:

CIBC saved 2,500 days of employee absences and $1.5 million in productivity costs in its first year of introducing and funding its child-care centre for employees in 2002.

Despite the fact that I don’t have any kids myself, I’ve long lamented the lack of child care spaces in Canada.  Just talk to anyone with small kids and they will tell you about how hard it is to find day care spaces (I’ve even heard of people being on day care wait lists *before* they get pregnant because the wait list is longer than the nine months of pregnancy + one year mat leave). And even if you are lucky enough to get a spot, it costs the lion share of your salary to pay for the daycare, making you start to wonder why you are working at all.  Have a second or a third kid and you can conceivably be *losing* money by going to work!

I wonder if more companies would funding childcare centres if they heard about things like $1.5 million in savings!

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