Friday, 22 February 2008


The world of nursing is pretty genderfucked. Don't get me wrong - I like it, but it's - as Jimmy Greaves once said (about something completely different): "It's a funny old game."

I like to think of adult nursing as a mini-matriarchy. Obviously, within the health service adult nursing is but a small part. A lot of medicine, like the world in general, is a patriarchal sort of gig. Which makes the little, woman-dominated island of adult nursing quite unique. A lot of older men that I know couldn't cope with living outside of a patriarchy, in my opinion. I'm something of an exception, I'm happy to say. One of my bosses, after the entire staff poked a bit of gender-based fun at me (which a softer human being could have wrongly mistook for bullying), told me: "We're all bitches here, sorry."

I told her I'd get used to it.

And I will. It's quite strange, to spend half of my time in one little world and the rest in one that is quite different. But I suspect it must be quite different for the female students.

The idea of Female-Solidarity is a hazy one in pop culture, and although the ethos behind it is lovely it often falls prey to backstabbing within the traditional patriarchy of British society. On the ward, it seems to be worse. In a sense there are no real male figures for anyone to play for or play off, and so you're really down to the bare bones. In fact, being a man within the system makes you into something of an impartial observer, which is fun. I'm sure if the staff I'd met were single, closer to my age, etc. I might end up taking up a different role of 'eye candy' (which wouldn't be a completely horrible fate) but right now I'm happy to observe proceedings. It's fun.

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