A Nurse With Attitude

Where Dark Cynical Humor, Nursing Issues, and Politics Seem to Merge

Culture and surgery

arab women

I am a nurse and I work in surgery. Today I had to deal with a family of Arab culture. The wife was having surgery for cancer and she arrived to the pre-op area in a head to toe burka. Her husband and his two brothers were all very possessive and would not allow her to answer any questions, or even talk to the nursing staff.   They also insisted on having “only female staff” taking care of this woman. The supervisor was notified and the schedule was adjusted to accommodate this family. There was a surgical resident that was taken out of the rotation, the attending anesthesiologist was changed out with another female anesthesiologist from the GI lab, and the circulating nurse (myself) was changed out with another nurse in urology.  

This sounds great on the surface… making accommodations for the psychological wellbeing of the patient. However, this is quite the opposite. It compromises care for not one but a multitude of patients. I was once the service coordinator for general surgery which covers oncology. I am experienced and current in my certifications with everything related to oncology. On the other hand, I know next to nothing about Urology. I feel that I may have been doing a dis-service to the poor patient that I took over for. The nurse that I replaced was the actual service coordinator for that service. She had had the best possible staff available … and then she was down-graded to a novice. The Urology nurse is probably the best in the Northwest region of the United States.   By the same token, she had only limited knowledge in oncology surgery and was doing a dis-service to her patient. This same dilemma was true with the anesthesia team, the surgical team and the recovery team. Because of the strange and silly cultural issue, this family compromised the care of four other patients.

Because we are professionals, we strive to do our best with what we have to work with. We still give the best care possible.

The democrats whine about a “war on women” that is ongoing within this country. But what I see is the best care and the best possible respect given to, not only women but people of all cultures.

I’d like to see what kind of care this poor woman would have gotten in her home country. Would she have been able to demand, and receive,   surgery with an all-female staff? Would she have gotten surgery at all? Something tells me different. In a country where farm animals have more respect and overall value than a female human, this woman would have been left to die a miserable death. Even worse, she would have been ( and still is, if she survives her illness) subject to being “stoned to death” for a host of social crimes, including simply being suspected of infidelity.   A place where they torture and murder women for entertainment or “casting shame” onto the family gets an automatic pass, while we, here in America, are the ones who lack tolerance and acceptance of diversity. We are accused of having the “war on women.”

It’s a crazy world in which we live.


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