So here’s the thing. DJ and I are both registered nurses. We met while working at the same hospital, her as a RN, me as a respiratory therapist. The timing of this trip was such that both of us should have graduated (me initial RN; her BSN). We almost screwed that up–me by breaking the bones, not working since May, and pushing back my externship for a block, and DJ is actually taking a chemistry class as we travel that will be her last class. It would have been better had things gone as planned… So–as part of out London tour, we had to visit the Florence Nightingale Nurse’s Museum. We went to the museum right before the Miss America pageant aired. One of the contestants, as her talent, performed a soliloquy in her scrubs talking about her job.
She was mocked endlessly by talking heads for wearing her ‘doctor’s stethoscope’ and just talking. As a person who has worked in healthcare better part of 10 year, I can definitively say that being a nurse [or respiratory therapist] takes talent. It takes skill to take care of sick babies. It takes skill to insert an IV on someone who is dehydrated. It takes talent to make someone comfortable when they are not in comfortable situations, and it takes talent to help someone die with dignity and grace. While certainly an unconventional talent, being a nurse [or any health care provider really] is most definitely is a skill and a talent and not everyone can or will do it.
She did not win.
But from pageants to TV shows to corporate sponsors, nurses have been in the news in the last two weeks more than possibly at any other time in recent history. And that’s good for nurses. It’s good that the public at large are getting to see what nurses do. I worked for ten years as a respiratory therapist before I became a nurse and people know even less about that profession than they do nursing. Anyway…as luck would have it, I have been spared most of the nurse drama because I was in London, visiting the nurses’ museum…oh the irony.
How can I say this nicely? The nurses’ museum wasn’t my favorite. It is small. It costs 7.50 [many of London’s museums much bigger, better, and are FREE], and doesn’t do the best job of depicting nursing. It’s mostly historic, but unlike the Old Operating Theatre, it’s not full of many artifacts. It consists mostly of photographs… displayed much like they would be if you were looking at microfiche [I feel so old just knowing about microfiche]. The Fleming Museum consisted of his laboratory; the Semmelweis museum (in Budapest) is located in his former family home. Those are all much better scientific/historic museums, and the surgery museum depicts surgery a time when surgeons were just slightly better than butchers.
How could the museum have been better?
What I would have like to seen is a small section focused on Aunt Flo, a small section cataloging the history of nursing, a small section of historic nursing artifacts, and maybe an interactive ‘can you be this patient’s nurse’ set-up using a current model of a hospital room or ICU room. That would have made for a rocking nurses’ museum.
It did have the lamp, which is a pretty important part of the graduation ceremony [or so I’m told. I skipped my graduation… remember broken arm, broken ankle? yea, I didn’t get to graduate with my original class and was in the new class for only the internship part…which didn’t really foster warm, fuzzy feelings towards my new classmates… anyway…]
I wonder what the design thought was in using fake grass to adorn the walls, or if there even was one.
It does have toys. And toys are a good thing.