Nurses appreciate applause, free pizza and siren parades, but really, what they want is for everyone to wash their hands properly and stay home. If we truly believe that modern nurses are both superheroes and saints, we cannot simultaneously think that injecting bleach is a good idea.
An integral part of every nurse’s training is reading the patient. They look at our bodies, our reactions, and our environments to know what treatment and empathetic care we need. A nurse can take one glance at you and know your state of mind, your favorite color, and whether you’ve done number two lately. Right now, when they look at America, nurses are not pleased.
Nurses do not like having to choose between working covid floors or not working at all because their hospitals can’t restart other lifesaving procedures until everyone stops hoarding N95 masks and agrees to wear underwear on their face while grocery shopping. Oh, wait. You don’t have to wear an underwear mask. There are several other styles and recommendations for non-medical plebes, but you think the N95 is a more sexy and slimming choice than looping a handkerchief over your ears. C’mon people. Saving lives is not a style choice.
Listen carefully, because we are on notice: use your brain, or nurses will leave the planet without you. There is a huge difference between acting on every random, anxious thought and channeling your God-given free will to contribute to society during an unprecedented worldwide emergency.
You are being asked to stay home, work differently, and teach math to your children. These things are surprisingly difficult, but only the math part requires Olympic level marathon training and dedication. Take a deep breath or twelve, and stop panicking or a nurse will intubate you to shut your mouth and improve your brain function.
The next time you share that meme about how nurses are saving the planet, take an extra two seconds to remind your elected officials that medical professionals still need PPE. Then listen and think about nurses before you hold a house party. Otherwise, they will all hop a rocket to Mars in search of intelligent life.