Friday, January 23, 2009


It has been nearly 3 months since I've posted. I feel bad about it, like I'm neglecting my baby or something. This blog was meant to be my baby after all.

Luckily, I have found myself settling in to nursing school and feeling more comfortable with my fellow students. But school is practically over now; in December, I will graduate! More and more often, life takes the opportunity to smack me across the face with the realization that IT NEVER SLOWS DOWN. I feel old and haggard already and I'm not even 22 yet. It seemed like just yesterday when I started this blog.

In any case, it's now the NEXT semester. I have Labor and Delivery, Critical Care, and Pediatrics this time around. Since the beginning of school, I've kept my mind completely open about what field of nursing (there are dozens) I want to get into. I've always had a special place in my heart for pediatrics, however, so I'm excited to see how I actually like it. Enjoying working with the little ones is probably the one stereotypical girl thing I possess. I think it's because I find it difficult to not be able to touch patients for fear of lawsuits and charges. Nurses are certainly allowed to touch patients, but it is more suggested that we do small things like holding a hand or petting an arm. But sometimes, someone just looks like they need a big hug! And with adults, it's much harder to know when that's appropriate or not and whether the patient would feel comfortable or not. Hell, there've been plenty of times when I have needed a hug but I don't know how to ask for it or I feel awkward initiating it. On the other hand, with kids and babies, it's pretty well established that hugs and touching are requirements for proper growth and development. It makes it a lot easier for someone like me!

Also, wiping a kid's butt is a lot less weird than helping an embarrassed grown man use the bathroom. I don't know if that's a common perspective, but it's how I feel and it's hard for me to get around it.

But enough of the chatter! This is a blog chronicling, to some degree, my dealings with religion and nursing. So far, more of the instructors than not have mentioned religion in some form. When one student sneezed, "GOD BLESS!" popped out of an instructor's mouth before the sneeze was even completed. Another discussed her entry into L&D nursing: "You never know what god has in store for you." Several of them graduated from Baptist schools or have husbands that are pastors or reverends. I am curious as to what it is about nursing that draws overtly religious folks. Perhaps it is a Bible Belt phenomenon.

By now it is easier for me to not be outwardly surprised by the things they say. I am intrigued and nervous about what they will teach us about circumcision, breast feeding, and labor and delivery care in general. With some things I can bite my tongue, but when I come across something that is being done just because "it's what we've always done!", I don't tolerate that very well. In general, Western birthing culture seems to be a bastardized, sterilized version of what nature intended. Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying our technology isn't wonderful and life-saving. In the case of circumcision, in probably 99% of cases it is unnecessary (I will probably dedicate a post to the topic as it deals directly with religion). Additionally, many Christians in this country do it because "It's in the Bible!" Yes it sure is; but it's referring to the Jewish peoples' covenant with god. Last time I checked, Christians aren't Jews. See how my sarcasm is cropping up already? It should be an interesting semester.


parenting noobs said...

Yeah! You are back! I missed you... I've been checking on your baby ... she must have been in a comma or something. Everything is fine now - finally movement! :)

I can't wait to hear more about your semester!

Oh, and to hear more about your move to Austin!

Anonymous said... I'm sitting here studying for my board exam and just decided to type "atheist nurse" into the google machine and I found your blog. As a new graduate, Dec 2008, I can totally understand your stances during nursing school. I have had more than one interesting ,even confrontational, experiences regarding the preponderance of religiosity in nursing school. Now that I'm out in the workforce (a NICU @ a Baptist Hospital) I see even MORE of this. My first day on the unit I had to turn down a "morning prayer," which worked perfectly at making me feel even more out of place. It would be very interesting to chat up some with you.

Anonymous said...

You should tend to your "baby" more often. I've enjoyed reading your blogs. I know the difficulty of being an atheist nurse, especially through nursing school. Each of us handles our situation differently; do what works for you.

I've found it's not such a bad experience in th real world of nursing. People have preconceived ideas about atheists. Initially many of your nurse co-workers will treat you like you have the black plague, some will be shocked, some won't care, some secretly struggle with their own personal religious queries. But, as they watch you in action and watch your interpersonal interactions with others, they will start to realize atheists are just like anyone fact often times we are nicer than everyone else. In the end, your co-workers usually develop a deep respect for you and stop caring about your religious position. At least, that's been my experience as an atheist nurse for the past 10 years.

Keep blogging. Blog more often. It's refreshing for me to read your blogs.


Atheist Nurse said...

Thanks for the comment and kick in the butt, Chris. I kept your email in my inbox for two weeks, just staring at it, in an attempt to give myself the push I needed to write another blog entry. It's hard for me to find reason to post, because I assume not very many people read my blog and so the frustration and feelings that I vent aren't all that important. However, I think even if one other fellow atheist nurse feels a little bit better after reading what I wrote, it's worth it! Anyway, thank you for reading, and thanks for the comment. You should write more on your own blog as well! =)