Unconventional Nursing

RuthieThis Post from 2012–written by my fellow nursing classmate, Ruth Donoghue–describes an episode occurring in the early ’90s.

Early ‘90’s December


Nursery in a Catholic hospital where 5,000 babies pass through in a year

The call comes via unit secretary

A nurse is requested as soon as possible to pick up a baby in delivery room three. (Every newborn baby is sent to the nursery to be bathed and examined).

Request the nurse be naked!

I believed this was a religious event, since it was permitted in the Catholic hospital where I worked. It was a time when we were trying to be more understanding of other religions and promoting better relations. Recently our department had finished seminars on religious and lifestyle diversity. Any employee not willing to extend understanding would be sent for counseling. Since I was close to retirement, I volunteered to take the call.

I grabbed two surgical masks, stapled them together and applied them as a bra. Disposable mother mash pants served as bottoms. A heavy starched doctor’s coat was applied for traveling.

Upon arrival the whole family—mother, baby, grandma, grandpa, father and sibling—is present, smiling and naked. The doctor managed to skillfully leave.

The thermostat is set at 90 degrees and mother and baby fully exposed. I remove my doctor’s coat. Nobody notices.

They allow me to place their beautiful baby in a blanket. I quickly apply my heavy doctor’s coat and depart, pushing the baby in the crib to the nursery.

It was an accomplishment because now I wound not have to go for sensitively counseling in contrast to some others.

A month later (January) in the hospital elevator, I encounter a couple, lightly dressed, carrying a baby in a blanket only. Smiling, happy and healthy. They don’t recognize me.

By Marianna Crane

After a long career in nursing--I was one of the first certified gerontological nurse practitioners--I am now a writer. My writings center around patients I have had over the years that continue to haunt my memory unless I record their stories. In addition, I write about growing older, confronting ageism, creativity and food. My memoir, "Stories from the Tenth Floor Clinic: A Nurse Practitioner Remembers" is available where ever books are sold.

1 comment

  1. Is this for real? As a retired OB nurse I can’t imagine the obstetrician agreed to strip. Why then the nurse? Hospitals should accommodate the customs and requests of their patients within reason … but they also must be fair to their employees.


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