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If you can’t fix it with duct tape…


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Recently, I was thinking back on some of the funniest VISUAL moments in my nursing career (there have been MANY). My favorite is one of the most egregious breaches of hospital dress I have ever seen. We all have one of these stories–see if yours is more “colorful” than this:

On a rare and quiet summer’s eve in the ICU (before GQ was a men’s style magazine), we had a visit from one of the local internists. Not exactly known for his sense of style or “see and be seen” in public, he previously had been spotted about the hospital halls in a canary yellow sweatsuit with the pants cut off just below the knee, among other fashion faux pas.

This particular sultry evening, we heard a distinctive “flop, flop” coming down the hall as if someone were wearing flip flops–a very serious breach of the OSHA safety shoe guidelines in all hospitals and, of course, a fall and sharps hazard to anyone.

Suddenly, this image-challenged internist appeared wearing a white t-shirt, complete with gym shorts, WHITE socks and a pair of (classic) brown leather penny loafers with the soles completely detached but partially held in place by SILVER duct tape. Completing the ensemble was a standard hot PINK nurses stethoscope draped carefully about the neck (and no doubt missing from the pocket of some well-intentioned but naive nurse on another unit).

A challenge worthy of “Project Runway.”

Yes, gentle reader, DUCT TAPE in classic silver! The time-honored must-have item in every auto mechanic’s emergency kit; the indispensable tool on every NASA moon flight since it was forever honored as a key part of the fix for the carbon dioxide scrubbers in the LEM (which helped to save the crew of Apollo 13). The subject of its own 1,000 Things to do With… book!

The explanation, as of course there had to be one, was simply “I couldn’t find another pair to put on in a hurry.”

Problem was: There was NO emergency! He had simply tried to “recycle” a sadly worn set of loafers from an era when pennies had “wheat backs.”

No one noticed if the pennies were still in the loafers…

If it moves and it shouldn’t, fix it with Duct tape! If it doesn’t move and it should, spray it with WD-40! (Lewis Grizzard)

Nurse Rene
Nurse Rene has been an RN since 1978; CCRN since 1989 and attained a BSN in 2010. She has worked in virtually every specialty from Neonatology to Neurosurgery and is a Member of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society with a particular interest in helping students and new grads develop to their full potential. She's been married for 33 years and has a keen interest in history and in current issues as nursing continues to develop as a Real Profession. When not spoiling the grandchildren, she enjoys sewing, cooking, kayaking, camping and travel. She likes all music which does not hurt her ears, watching NCIS, Leverage, Top Gear and Criminal Minds and reads books written by Clive Cussler, Miss Manners, Erma Bombeck and Tom Clancy. She enjoys collecting Quotations for use in her writings.

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