The nurse who used to work the streets

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Prior to becoming a nurse, I was a firefighter/paramedic for 25 years.

During that time I learned to work in less than pristine conditions. That, coupled with my beginning years as a night nurse, got me into the habit of using as little light as possible so as not to disturb my patients.

The other day a patient stated he didn’t mind if I turned on the bright light to give meds. I told the patient I didn’t need the bright light to administer meds because I spent 25 years working on the streets and was accustomed to working in low light.

Later he told the next shift nurse that he didn’t think it was a good idea for a nurse to reveal her past as a prostitute who worked the streets for many years. The nurse hurriedly explained to the patient that my years on the streets were as a paramedic and that I was an excellent nurse because of my experience.

Guess I need to be more specific about what I tell my patients.

Mickie Dye, RN, SANE, retired from the Dallas Fire Department and attended nursing school. She has been a nurse for almost four years and has just recently certified as a SANE nurse. She works at Providence Health Center in Waco, Texas.

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