The Nurse-Stripper Paradox

Stories - Sign NursingAbout two years ago, I was joking with a coworker/friend at dinner after our shift ended.

We commended ourselves for having a great sense of humor. It was our self-proclaimed coping mechanism for surviving our three 12 hour shifts that week.

Over dinner, I made the comment to my friend, “Hey, I just recently got my W2s in the mail, I think it’s time to start considering stripping”.

At first, she laughed, but then she said, “Yeah we’re pretty much already strippers. Just add music in the background of our shift and it’s not much different”.

Now, two years later, I realize how much of an impact that conversation has had on my brain, heart, and soul. While I believe that nursing is a passion and not a job, I think that conversation with my friend happened for a reason.

The Comparison

As I enter into my sixth year of nursing practice, I am seeing many similarities between nursing and stripping/dancing.

In many cases both professions have a dress code that must be upheld, both risk coming into contact with bodily fluids, both require great customer service skills, and both seem underappreciated.

If an employee of either profession arouses a customer during the shift, it is important to pretend like nothing happened. If advances continue in a more threatening manner, security is available.

Sadly, both professions may be subjected to physical, verbal, and emotional abuse.

I am aware that my personal opinion may upset some.

Allow me to provide some insight into another aspect of my position on this subject.

To become a nurse, there are often grade requirements and waiting lists that must be overcome before starting the program.

Then, if you get a two year degree (Associate degree), most institutions explain that four year degrees are preferred.

If you get a four year degree (Bachelor degree), you are told a graduate degree is preferable and will also afford greater professional opportunities.

Next, if you have a Master’s degree, you’re told a Doctoral degree is preferred, say, about half the time. In my experience, those who have achieved a Doctoral degree are often submerged in debt and very stressed and/or overwhelmed.

It seems that some even feel the pay raise is not worthy of the stress incurred and sacrifices made along the way.

So here’s a question consider: Do strippers have to take tests, pay tuition, then take more tests to actually perform? Do they get to choose the color of their outfit?

Do they get tipped and get to keep their tips after attending to, or possibly even being touched by and/or cleaning up the bodily fluids of clients during their shift?

I know nurses do not.

Nursing is a wonderful profession

Although it would be an even better profession if nurses who feel that they are not being treated as fairly as they ought to would stop being afraid to speak up (professionally).

Together, nurses can stand up for their rights and truly make an impact on the way government regulators, and society, view the profession as a whole.

Patients, families, and visitors pay nurses compliments rather frequently. It is time to show the system that we deserve the same amount of respect overall.


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