Nurses and Teachers



I’m so old that women in my age group had little career choices.  While, women may have been permitted to go to law or medical school, it certainly wasn’t encouraged.  No, during those years women were either teachers or nurses.  To amuse myself during my hospital stay, I decided to study the similarities and differences between the two professions.  (Yes, I was that desperate to entertain myself.)

At first glance, both professions seem to be filled with young, idealistic people who want to help others. Curiously, in both professions, men tend to be promoted to supervisory positions, even though women are the majority.

Nurses work in a high stress environment on 18-hour shifts.  They are in constant motion tending to their patients, sitting them up, giving them baths, dispensing medicines, logging their vital signs.  Additionally, they are strapped with nonessential duties, such as removing food trays for each patient’s room, and resupplying tissues and toilet paper.  Really?  Seems like a waste of trained personnel to me.

Of course, teachers also have the high stress of ensuring their students meet the state standards and pass state-mandated tests.  In many school districts, they too are assigned lunch room monitoring, bathroom and bus duty, and vomit clean-up.  Another waste of talent.

However, the major difference I discovered was both nurses and physicians are clueless about phonetics.  They would be totally inept in deciphering student writing.  Yes, I know first hand:  when I emerged intubated from my drug-induced state, I could barely hold a pen.  I struggled to communicate, let alone spell correctly.  Numerous times my notes were dismissed as gibberish.  “I have NO idea what you’re trying to say!”  Well, damn, I couldn’t say anything because of the tube, I was trying to write.


Behold one of my better attempts.  I was anxious and restless.  I needed some medicine to calm me down.  Finally, the night shift nurse, a mother of three, deciphered my request.

We teachers would have no problem shopping with this grocery list:


Had I been able to talk, I would have asked several of those physicians who taught them handwriting.


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