A few weeks ago I had an instarant (ie: a rant on Instagram) that went like this:
Here is why I reject the “health care heroes” narrative. Don’t get me wrong – most of my colleagues are amazing, but they’re just everyday compassionate, creative, funny, clever and skilled health professionals who support the people who need it, but ONLY if it’s safe to do so.
If you’re dead on the floor and it’s dangerous for me to enter the room, I will leave you dead on the floor. Sorry, but that is what a sensible health professional will do.
A “hero” might ignore their own safety and expose themself to danger unnecessarily. It’s great that these people exist, but don’t expect it from a sensible health professional.
Same deal with the #COVID19 thing: if you’re gasping for breath and need a nurse, s/he will rush to your aid, but only AFTER donning personal protective equipment. You may be familiar with the DRABCD life support acronym: the first D is for Danger – nothing else happens until that is addressed.
A hero might bypass the notion of self-protection, but a sensible health professional will not intentionally put themself in harm’s way.
THAT is why I think we should knock-off the “health care hero” narrative. It’s a foolish, dangerous and inaccurate way of describing a health worker’s job/intent.
I am good at my job, and that is enough. I have no intention to risk my life to save the life of a stranger.
I am a health professional. If you need a hero you should ask Batman to help you.
#nurse #nurses #nursing #covid19 #healthcarehero #healthhero #healthcareheroes #healthcareheros #healthheroes #healthheros Instagram and hashtags, eh? 🙄
A Calmer, More Sciency Version
Look, I know that the “healthcare hero” thing comes from a good place. People who use it are expressing gratitude. Thank you for that. It is lovely of you to do so.
On the weekend while browsing Twitter I came across a much more articulate, complete and sciency argument against the hero narrative.
I thoroughly recommend that you read it the paper, here’s the citation and link:
Stokes‐Parish, J., Elliott, R., Rolls, K. & Massey, D. (2020), Angels and Heroes: The Unintended Consequence of the Hero Narrative. Journal of Nursing Scholarship. doi.org/10.1111/jnu.12591
A Song For Health Professionals
Songs can be inspiring, right? I would like my colleagues to take inspiration from the wise words of Paper Lace (1974) – don’t be a hero + keep your pretty head low. 🙂
That’s it. Thanks for reading the blog.
I hope the song brings you a giggle and/or nostalgic joy.
I really hope you have 5 or 10 minutes to devote to the journal article. Although they don’t mention Batman, the Australian nurse academics who wrote the paper did a much better job of expressing my thoughts than I have.
As always, you are welcome to add your thoughts in the comments section below.
Paul McNamara, 1 September 2020
Short URL meta4RN.com/hero
100% agree re healthcare hero narrative! Its a job. BTW loved Billy don’t be a hero as a kid.
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We’re showing our age Gillian. 🙂
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