Nursing Changes You

imagesThe following piece is written by Miami IWW member, Scott Nikolas Nappalos . It’s an insightful anecdote of how working in the health care system greatly affects medical workers and patients. We highly recommend everyone to read more below. 
By Scott Nikolas Nappalos

*Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep*

The room is a dull blur. The sand shakes and rattles weaving in and out of the *beep beep beep beep*.

Cat litter comes into view. I stop.

“I’m in a room”, I think to myself. Look around, and recognize.

“IV pumps can’t beep because I’m home, I’m not in the hospital”. The sound fades out until silence. My cat rubs against my leg.

Today at work my coworkers told me a story of getting trapped on a freeway for an hour whena politician came to town. She called her family and told them “They’re lucky they didn’t meet me because I’d be on the front page of all the newspapers tomorrow morning telling them off. They don’t understand what it means to be on your feet for 12 hours as a nurse”.

It took years before I began to notice. The sound hallucinations eventually caught up with me and made me think, what does it mean that my job would make me carry the sounds of that place home with me? We hold onto it in our sleep. Nursing changes you in ways you can’t anticipate. I find myself at the same time more empathetic and passionate, even volatile.

There’s something about being there for someone in their hardest moments that carries a burden, but that’s only a tiny part of it. Hospitals these days are built like any other workplace; designed to squeeze the work out of us, and the money out of the patients. Time and money are just words for our vitality, our lives.

When we ask for something more from life, these are the things I think about. Better healthcare isn’t just cheaper medicine, but also a different way to relate to one and another. A way where patients aren’t crying alone in a dark room awaiting death, and where nurses don’t carry the visions and burden of an inhumane machine home in their ears, eyes, and throats.