Let’s talk about stereotypes, and double standards. The ‘sexy nurse’

By | Nursing, professional, Unity | 6 Comments

Sexy Nurse Basketball Cheerleaders.

We ran into a little double standard today on SMYS, and I would love to talk about it. A guy complained about a picture of barechested guys, identifying as nurses.

Ok, everyone knows I hate the sexy nurse thing.  I. Hate. It.  I try to swallow my feelings because others (non-nurses mostly) think I am very sensitive about it, and I do not like to force my beliefs on anyone.  I had to go on autopilot last Halloween.  The sexy nurse costumes actually cost this group hundreds and maybe thousands of good members, but I didn’t want to add another restriction to the list.

We were all in agreement about the sexy nurse toddler shirt, as it was pretty disgusting. Because making CHILDREN sex objects is just not ok on any level.

At the very beginning of the “Show Me Your Stethoscope” phenomenon, we lost perhaps MORE members than that because of the guy nurse ‘beefcake’ pictures.  There was a nurse who got so many likes on a barechested picture of himself that he imploded when I deleted it (because I felt it was marginalizing male nurses as sex objects, and him in particular).  He was horrified that I deleted his picture, because it got so much attention.  Quite honestly, I am sure he got a lot of attention in his real life, based on that picture. I had a hard time relating.  It is possible that I was insensitive.


Washington DC Party with SMYS. Flo Approves.

But here is the thing…. There IS a ‘sexy nurse’ stereotype.  I have had patients and physicians mention it.  It is kind of icky.  I feel like it robs our profession of the respect we deserve.  The short vinyl skirt and nurse’s cap are insulting.  It is someone pretending to be a nurse and sexualizing the profession.  We go INSANE when someone impersonates a nurse, but we are not bothered at all when it is accompanied by sexualization? Weird.

A member who we will call R.B. recently posted a ‘shower’ picture showing his safe staffing bracelet.  I found it hysterical, but was that because he was a guy, or because only the back of his shoulder and his hair were visible?

So, is it ok to post barechested pictures of yourself in a healthcare group, identifying as a nurse? I don’t mean ‘is it morally ok?’ or ‘is it ok according to my religion?’ or ‘is it ok with me aesthetically?’.  I mean, is it ok for the profession? Does it perpetuate a stereotype? Does it marginalize nurses? Does your action actually impact the way nurses are seen by the general public?

I know, right? A lot to think about.  You thought you were just showing us the awesome muscles you got at the gym, folks! 🙂 Why is it ok to sexualize MEN in nursing, and not women?

Discuss. Halloween is coming around again.











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Harriet Tubman, and why we should be proud to have her on the $20 bill

By | Unity | 2 Comments

Harriet Tubman is to be honored with a spot on the $20 bill.  We should be honored and humbled that she will grace it;  I hope we have her approval, posthumously.

She was born to enslaved parents as Araminta (‘Minty’) Ross around 1822. The exact date is not known. She was later married to John Tubman, who was a free black man.  She changed her name to Harriet sometime around her marriage.  harriet-tubman

This courageous visionary was a cook and a nurse for the Union Army before becoming a spy, and an armed scout.  She guided a raid that freed seven hundred slaves. She was the first woman to lead an armed mission in the war.  She saved seventy families from slavery, and transported them first to the ‘north’ and then into Canada when the Fugitive Slave Act became law.  She was a suffragette later in life

Harriet Tubman accomplished all of that with a traumatic brain injury, long lasting injuries from repeated beatings, and the life she lived as chattel.  Property. She was regarded as no better than livestock. Her head injury occurred when she was in a shop, and an overseer demanded she help him restrain a slave who had left the fields without permission.  She refused.  The overseer threw a heavy weight at the man, and it struck the adolescent Harriet in the head, nearly killing her. She was unconscious for two days, at which point she was unceremoniously ordered to the fields for work, while bleeding and in great pain. She had seizures, headaches and hypersomnia for the rest of her life.  It is suspected that she suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy. 

She didn’t let that stop her.

When Harriet made her run for freedom, she was assisted by kind people, mostly Quakers.  She describes crossing the line into Pennsylvania for the first time:

When I found I had crossed that line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything; the sun came like gold through the trees, and over the fields, and I felt like I was in Heaven

harrietShe made that return journey many times to rescue other slaves. First her family, then friends and strangers. One of her last missions was to rescue her parents.  Harriet floated families up rivers on rafts, and used risky disguises and tricks to get them to safety. There is evidence that she and Frederick Douglass worked together to bring some slaves to freedom. It is suspected that she brought eleven escaped slaves to his home, here is the quote from Douglass:

Douglass wrote: “On one occasion I had eleven fugitives at the same time under my roof, and it was necessary for them to remain with me until I could collect sufficient money to get them on to Canada. It was the largest number I ever had at any one time, and I had some difficulty in providing so many with food and shelter…

I could tell you Harriet’s entire history, but I won’t.  It is available everywhere.  She was the embodiment of American courage and spirit, while she was fighting unjust laws in America. I am so grateful that she will be the first woman and first African-American to grace our currency (Other than coins).  And remember, she served as a nurse.  I am doubly proud of her.






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Your car is Nursing’s Billboard!

By | Unity | One Comment

Beginning this Saturday, April 23 and Safe Staffing Rally Day on May 12, we would LOVE to see pictures of your CAR!

car nichole

You can decorate however you like! Some suggestions are:

Safe Ratios Save Lives

Safe Staffing Event 5/12/2016 (with rally info for state or DC)







Please post your pic in our group or on our page so we can share your safe staffing spirit! I am told that these markers work great: Click Here Or you can buy them wherever! 🙂




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This is so Crazy it Just might Work! – An Invitation

By | Advocacy, Healthcare Policy, Nursing, Unity | 4 Comments

Dear Every Nurse on Planet Earth:travel-nursing-jobs

I have decided that we need to talk about a few things again….so bear with me.  You know how I go on.

So we have all of these nursing organizations.  State organizations, National Organizations, Unions, Nursing Specialty Organizations…and ShowMeYourStethoscope.

And nobody works with each other or agrees on anything.  Because they want to be the biggest person in their sandbox.  Or they want to show their members how efficient they are.  Or there is one tiny thing they do not like about the plan so they walk away. nursesunite

This sounds familiar. Like when you are calling report to a floor and they refuse to take report because they are busy, and no one else can help them because they are busy, and all of the care gets delayed. And the ER is backed up and can’t get patients to the floor so they can take patients from the waiting room.  And we all think we operate in a vacuum, when we are all important components of the marvelous device that is healthcare in the United States.

And our patients are not cared for properly. And we blame ourselves because we are conscientious and caring professionals. We have tried for so long to do everything with a startlingly bad lack of resources that we are used to it.  This cannot be. Our patients deserve the best care available.  We cannot give it to them on a shoestring staffing budget.

We cannot take responsibility for the failure of healthcare organizations to staff properly.  Do you think that Nurse Executives and Nurse Managers want to see unsafe staffing? I am going to tell you that they do not.  They have no choice, because their jobs are dependant on meeting the bottom line set by their superiors. They are nurses, just like us.  They want safe care for their patients.

So we have all of these resources, and they are going to the wrong places.  They are going to emergency care instead of primary care.  They are going to fighting instead of uniting.  images (3)

Our Nursing organizations are really kind of like that. We have all of these resources and we are not using them, because it is a giant contest. There is no unity. It has to be ‘us’ who got a bill passed, not everyone, just our organization.  Getting a bill passed for safe staffing is the right thing to do.  It has nothing to do with politics, membership dues, or egos.  It has to do with lives.  Failure to unite as a profession is costing lives.  How can we be the most trusted profession on planet earth and choose our individual wants and desires over human life?

I want to make an offer to ALL professional organizations. There are a lot of nurses here. We want to unite for safe staffing.  We want to help our patients and advocate for ourselves.  So why not just show the powers-that-be our stethoscopes as nurses, not organizations? You can use my spot right here. I don’t have an ego. We can come together as equals, 1ce4aa326a2bb71485c2a83bdd7d5395and just do the right thing.

Can we be RN’s AND LPN’s and unite for Safe Staffing? Can we be MEMBERS of healthcare, no matter our discipline and unite for safe staffing?

Will you take the chance that this could be the way we succeed? And that it doesn’t have to be your organization flying solo?

There is a Rally for Nurse to Patient Ratios in Washington DC on May 12, 2016.  We would like to have Nurses from every state, and every organization gather to participate in the Rally, and show the country that we are united behind the grand tradition of Nursing.  This tradition is to do the best thing possible for our Patients. So simple, but so incredibly important.

You know how to get in touch with me, but the email is


Let me know.





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