For better or for worse, nursing has evolved into a highly specialized profession. It has emerged from a long and undervalued history of low visibility, high productivity.
Quasi religious templates were imposed on nurses to enable them to engage close and often intimate contact with the predominantly male patients in the 19th century context. Gender roles were sharply defined back then and the nurses role was one largely of subservience, both to the doctors and to the patients.
Since then the profession has undergone great reformation. It has slowly risen from the muddy field in which it was planted, growing into a distinct and resilient species. Obviously separate but intrinsically complimentary to that of the doctor.
You might think of them, perhaps, as coffee and tea.
Today’s nurses are highly educated, diversely specialized and no longer subservient. They have developed their own particular varietal flavours. The lightness of Earl Gray, the peppery urgency of Yunnan, exotic Russian Caravan, perky Peppermint, and even Green (as in student).
Each blend has found its own niche and particularities within the profession dependant on the degree of fermentation it undergoes during processing.
Both Nurses and Tea are greatly admired for their inherent medicinal qualities.
In 1211, Eisai, wrote a two volume book Kissa Yojoki (how to stay healthy by drinking tea) praising the curative properties of tea. â€œTea is the ultimate medical remedyâ€ he wrote, â€œhaving the ability to make ones life more full and complete.â€ The book described the myriad shapes of tea plants, tea flowers and tea leaves, instructed on the cultivation of tea and proposed specific preparations and doses for individual ailments. Tea was described as having a positive effect on the five vital organs, particularly the heart.
In today’s rapidly changing society, as nurses struggle with quiet desperation to define the exactitude’s of our profession, nursing is also often given descriptors of the heart.
Compassion, caring, warm-hearted.
In actuality, this is only a very small part of what it is to be a nurse, but it is every bit as valuable as the properties of chamomile or peppermint or lemon grass. Properties that sometimes might be seen as weak and diluted by some coffee drinkers.
Doctors are coffee.
Coffee is powerful and effectual. It produces immediate, measurable responses due to its caffeine content as well as other chemical agents stimulating the production of cortisone and adrenaline.
The production of coffee is a labour intensive and complex process involving sorting, defruiting, drying and ageing. It is considered as powerful and important as any currency and is the second most traded commodity in the world following petroleum. Like good coffee, a good doctor is worth their weight in gold. Amen.
The investment in producing quality specialized varieties of coffee has been tempered by the growing needs of an increasingly thirsty society. As with tea, coffee’s greatest Achilles Heel is a failure to recognize the importance of maintaining a suitable environment when nurturing its growth. Excessive moisture or temperature variation may lead to the development of fungi, contaminating the coffee or tea with toxic and carcinogenic substances. The increasingly acerbic environment of the health-care system (containing plenty of fertilizer) may indeed be producing plenty of fungi.
Coffee and tea, both have a place on the table.
Some coffee drinkers consider theirs the superior brew and, as is only human nature, have little time for exploring the complex tastes of tea.
Others grow their tea on terraced moral high grounds, considering coffee to be thick and bitter and best heavily filtered.
But coffee is coffee and tea is tea. Both have the capability to bestow health and well-being.
And believe me, there is more than enough hot water out there to steep them both.
So pleaseâ€¦..pass the sugar.