Cootie-Proof Forever

Some days I think my colleagues are the most amazing group of people I could possibly work with, and would gladly and gratefully place the lives of myself and all my loved ones in their capable, clever hands. Other days, I think they are hopeless, bitter, gossipy old skanks, and I throw up my hands in despair.

We have a problem-child nurse in our department, who I’ll call Sarah. She’s actually a pretty good nurse, but she’s loud and opinionated, doesn’t listen well, doesn’t play well with others, and she’s managed to offend in many and manifest ways (for reasons I won’t go into here) the crusty twisted old princesses RNs* who like to think they run the department — or at least public opinion.†

I don’t actually mind this nurse (mostly) and will converse with her in a friendly-like manner, and will even be seen to do so in public. Shocking, I guess. There was a pub night the other night and the subject of poor unloved Sarah came up. When nurses drink, the knives come out, and you’d better get out the sawdust, ’cause there’s going to be blood on the floor. The next day my closest friend in the Emerg, who was attending and witnessed the repeated eviscerations of various nurses, told me (by way of having my back) that the Old Crusties feel I am becoming associated too closely with Sarah by being friendly and speaking with her and that I had better knock it off.‡

I went away and thought about this one for a long while.

Apparently, I have concluded, Acme Regional Emergency is actually an elementary school-yard. Sarah is the little ugly girl with the cooties, and I am in mortal danger of getting Sarah-cooties, which seemingly are very catching and will destroy me forever.

I think this is what it comes down to. Honestly. Nurses behaving badly, and cooties.

But you see, I said “cootie-proof forever” beforehand, so I’m in the clear.

When I think about it, it seems to me we generally often treat our colleagues on the basis of whether they have cooties. Call it the tyranny of conformity, or horizontal violence or having the temperament and mentality of a eight year-old or whatever you want.

This makes me so proud of nurses.


*I mean crusty as in peel-the-paint-of-the-walls-with-a-glance crusty. Angry-spitting-camel crusty. They even frighten me.

†I meant to ask, are you guys bored with my endless fascination with intradepartment politics? I’m sure the nurses among you find it as equally entertaining, but. . .

‡I also strongly suspect some highly critical and nasty things were said about me, but ignorance is bliss.


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  1. #1 by Anne Silva on Monday 21 June 2010 - 1010

    Love it! LOL

  2. #2 by Bina on Monday 21 June 2010 - 1350

    Nice to know that high school never really ended, eh?

    (Pay them no mind. Be kind to everyone, even cootie-prone Sarah. You never know when you’ll need that kindness reciprocated, or when, out of the blue, a miracle will strike.)

    • #3 by torontoemerg on Monday 21 June 2010 - 2157

      I’m into the whole ‘random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty’ thing — I try to do one of each daily. And you know, I did a small kindness for a hugely stressed out colleague that very same day, and later on she came up to me and said to me, thanking me profusely, that she knew who her friends were.

      Which just about took away the sourness of the above.

  3. #4 by Maha on Monday 21 June 2010 - 1425

    I hate talking shmack about other nurses because I know someone will bitch about me sometime. In fact, I know they do – I’ve been told that ‘everyone’ thinks I’m too anti-social because I don’t join in the eviscerate your coworkers sessions over break room snacks.

    • #5 by torontoemerg on Monday 21 June 2010 - 2200

      The one downside of quitting smoking a few years ago was that I know spend far too much time in the Compressed Negativity Chamber that doubles as our staff room —- I need to get out more.

  4. #6 by Art Doctor on Monday 21 June 2010 - 2057

    I bet “Sarah” is really “Mary”. Mary’s are always like this :p

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