What’s on your mind about nursing, Jen Johnson?

Jennifer Johnson is a surgical services RN who finds a little levity can go a long way on both sides of health care delivery.
Jennifer Hall Johnson is a surgical services RN who has found that a little levity goes a long way on both sides of health care delivery.

We all have those friends who help us survive the uphill terrain in life with a little laughter to propel the journey.  Jen Johnson was one of those friends who helped me survive nursing school with her quick wit and tireless commitment to create community along the way.  It's no surprise to catch up with her over a decade beyond wearing whites in nursing school together and to find her creating comic community as an escape from the stress of the daily grind.  When Jen isn't working in the OR in her local community, she's traveling the world with Seattle Alliance Outreach or plotting her next steps in raising funds and awareness to combat the widespread affect of cancer.  When I recently caught up with Jen and asked her what was on her mind about nursing, here's what she had to say:

"Last fall, the nursing profession was front and center in the media thanks (or no-thanks) to criticizing comments made on a national talk show by uninformed television hosts.  With that press, nurses (and healthcare workers of all types) came out of the woodwork to state their opinions, good and bad - about our chosen profession.  I have never seen such an outpouring of support for health care workers, and I am grateful for the national spotlight the nursing profession had in the aftermath of said press.  I mean, nursing is a great profession!  Where else can you roll into work in your PJ's and then change into other PJ inspired clothing?  I wear an OR hat at work all day, so that saves a lot of money on grooming supplies.

That said, I have also noticed an influx of negativity regarding nursing, particularly in social media.  I started following a very popular healthcare Facebook site and what I saw alternated between making me proud and inspired, and sad.  I have heard the mantra "nurses eat their young" so many times and by so many people, yet I had not experienced it myself.  What I saw on social media last fall in the flurry of reactions to the aforementioned press was a cacophony of: "Behind my name are X amount of letters Alphabet Bashing", the old "I've been a nurse since (insert year) so don't dispute me because you don't know as much as I do," and various administrators of the aforementioned site arguing the professionalism of certain posts and comments...it was like I was watching the human equivalent of a tiger salamander (in case you didn't get that reference, they literally do eat their young).

I thought about it and realized that I wanted to do something to bring attention to all the positive (and funny) parts of nursing...so nurses and healthcare workers of all types could maybe get a laugh, blow off some steam, and not worry about being blasted by a FB group administrator for violating an unknown (and often changing) line of "professionalism".  A small way to focus on the positive rather than be bogged down by all the negativity.
I don't care what your title or place of employment is, if you work as a nurse, you have stories.  You have seen some bad stuff.  Really bad stuff.  I've had to tell people that their family member needed an emergency surgery after delivery of a stillborn baby.  I've looked into the eyes of a patient who didn't know how far their cancer had spread, held their hand as we walked down the hall to the OR, and as anesthesia took over, said a silent prayer for them.
Heck, I've BEEN the cancer patient.
I was there when my co-worker's mom went into cardiac arrest during an endoscopy.  My co-worker was standing outside the procedure room door as the code was called, and she had to make the decision to call it off after 45 minutes of non-effective CPR.  It's tough stuff.  I'm not telling you guys this so you think I'm Super Nurse or anything.  The point is, if you work in nursing (or health care), you either have seen some earth-shattering events, or it's just a matter of time before you do.  And you have to get up the next day (possibly wearing Hello Kitty pajamas) and go back and do it all over again.
The Joy of Nursing is a Facebook group I created with the intention to create camaraderie (and to blow off some steam) within the healthcare community using humor.  Focusing on the positive and the funny stuff makes the bad stuff easier to handle.  And maybe humor is a vehicle we can take to aid in not taking ourselves so damn seriously."
Jen's FB group is: The Joy of Nursing - she invites you to join her in a chuckle.
The views and opinions expressed by our guest authors and by those who comment on their posts do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of www.thereflectivenurse.com

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