In light of the recent basketball tournament I decided to stick to the athletic theme in discussing the novelty of a nursing profession that provides the opportunity to “sport” your team pride at work.Â Thanks to the University of Florida athletic program, I quickly became a die-hard Gator fan the moment I stepped onto the campus freshman year. That passion has followed me through season after season, even post graduation, and has only grown stronger outside the safety and comfort of the orange and blue scene in Gainesville, Florida.
Perhaps I had the naÃ¯ve impression that everyone in the south was a Gator fan, that is, until I moved to Atlanta. A little Atlanta geography for those of you who are not familiar: it stands conveniently centrally located in the heart of SEC country. That being said, the likes of Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, LSU, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State fans are packed into the city in swarms. Florida fans, although a strong force, are NOT the majority. So there I was, new graduate nurse in big city Atlanta, with my pink, teal, and yellow pediatric scrubs. When word spread that I was a University of Florida graduate (and of course when Florida was beating everyone in football), I received stares, sneers, hateful words, got a couple of sucker punches. Just kidding, but I quickly had to figure out a way to sport my Gator pride while at work amidst the throngs of SEC fans.
Moral of the story, you ask? Next trip to Gainesville I stopped by the medical uniform store and stocked up on Gator scrubs, Gator badge clips, and a Gator watch. I always knew I was thankful for work attire consisting of the most comfortable clothing you can find: scrubs. However, my true appreciation came to fruition when I realized that I could advertise my Gator allegiance on a daily basis in a professional manner. What other profession extends you such a leisure?
The only downside to this novelty I encountered shortly after starting as a new graduate during football season. I was proudly wearing my new Gator purchases and was making morning rounds in my patient rooms. I had an eleven year old boy who scanned me as I walked in the room and introduced myself. He proceeded to bark at me rather ferociously, and in my head I quickly scolded the night shift nurse for leaving out the important details of the obvious psychiatric condition that this patient was displaying signs of. All of my assumptions were negated when the patient suddenly stopped barking, pointed to my name badge with Gator head clip, and yelled in a strong southern twang, “Go Dawgs.” It was then that I realized, Albert, we’re not in Gainesville anymore…