Everyday there are nursing stories in the news. Stories about nurses, hospitals, nursing as a practice and career appear in headlines both in the US and around the world. My extensive daily search of the internet for stories, research, information, conclusions, and topics to debate have made me a self-proclaimed expert on the vast amount of information available (I understand that there is zero need for such an expert… but hey we all have to excel in something right?) While there are always nursing stories in the news, they almost never appear in the sports section: this week they did. Two very different stories were filed in the sports section this week; one that angered me severely and one that we should all be excited to read.
Mike Tyson, the former boxing heavyweight champion of the world will appear in an August 7th episode of CBS’s Same Name. The show premiered July 24th. He is “switching roles” with a nurse in Michigan and “working” at Spectrum Health Community Hospital in Zeeland. The news bites about this ridiculous story have appeared in sources ranging from The Washington Post’s sports blog to Daily Gossip. CBS obviously didn’t think this “Mike Tyson as a nurse” thing all the way through and went for what they thought would be the most obvious money-maker. The #1 reason that this “role swap” is offensive and absurd: Mike Tyson is a convicted rapist and would not be granted a Nursing license in any state. Spectrum Health: you should be ashamed of yourself for taking part and allowing a convicted rapist to act as a nurse within your organization. Nursing is a profession of integrity, honesty, benevolence, and non-maleficence. It doesn’t matter how much you’ve changed your life since then, his rape conviction still stands. It is also a career of extended education; you can only practice nursing after passing a licensing exam. So- #2 it is NOT a role that 2 people can just swap. The thought that you can put a person in scrubs, put a stethoscope around their neck and teach them how to put on sterile gloves and “call” them a nurse for the day is angering. Nurses and Nursing organizations work hard EVERYDAY to fight the stereotype of how nurses are portrayed on TV. The CBS executives that put this show together, and specifically this episode on the air, should think about how they would react if their loved ones or they themselves were lying in a hospital bed and Mike Tyson (knowing what we all know about him) walked into the room and introduced himself as the nurse. I very strongly believe, even amongst entertainment executives, integrity should mean more than ratings and money. CBS has proven that I am wrong.
On the complete other end of the news spectrum, an inspiring educational story made headlines about Nate Hughes of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Nate graduated from Alcorn State University (the same Alma Mater as Donald Driver, one of my favorite NFL Players) with his Bachelors in Nursing. This year he completed his Masters in Nursing and during the NFL lockout had been working at Noxubee General Hospital in Macon, MS. While to some this may seem like a fluff piece; but to me it’s a powerful story. This young man should be commended for sticking with such a difficult education course during college, completing his degree, and taking his education and professional goals seriously enough to take his licensing exam and stay current enough to work. Nursing is not a degree program where someone else can do the work for you, or show up to clinical for you, there are no shortcuts. To work as a nurse in any hospital, in any state, you have to stay current and maintain licensing and education requirements.
There are many professional athletes that took their years in school seriously and pursued advanced degrees while playing professional sports. We just don’t hear about them. The players that do make the headlines and are celebrated seem to be those that skipped college in lieu of a paycheck.
I am passionate about the importance of education for the future improvement of our country. Nursing is a difficult educational path; it is stressful, competitive, emotional, and filled with long shifts and long hours. Nate is more than an inspiring professional athlete; he’s a truly inspiring professional. I would be as proud to work with him as I would to have him on my fantasy football team.