Tag Archives: equality

If Everyone Wore a Johnny

IMG_9733 Mary.vintage_sm
This is Mary. I found her photo attached to an application for a job as a nursing assistant to a NH Director of Anesthesia. It was in an old filing cabinet I obtained through a thrift store. I found it interesting that a photo was required. Was that standard practice back in 1948? I wonder if she is still alive. According to other papers in the old filing cabinet, I don’t think she got the job. Did her appearance play a big part in the doctor’s decision?

Although I have been an EMT for over 3 years, becoming an in-patient rehabilitation technician last year has helped me see people through new eyes. Since every patient is wearing a johnny, aka a hospital gown, and have often recently come out of surgery, everyone is on a “level playing field”. Everyone is someone. Engaging them in conversation is the only way to find out who they are, and as for senior patients, who they were as well. I have been amazed by some of the life stories I’ve heard, and I have been so impressed with the hospital staff as they treat every patient with dignity and respect.

My mother once quoted a Japanese proverb that says, “Respect old people and be gentle with children, for you were once one and someday will be the other.”

Mary is elderly now, if she is still alive, and is probably in her 90’s. Did she become a nurse? At some point in her life, she probably wore a johnny herself, and if she had been a nurse, the staff would see just an old lady, until she told them she, too, had been a nurse.  Would that change the way they see her?

We all judge or assess people as a first impression. It’s human nature. It’s part of self-preservation. Although we can’t judge a book by its cover, there are some things that can clue us in as to who they are.

But…

…if everyone wore a johnny, maybe we’d be a little less judgmental, a little kinder, a little more humble, and a bit more real.


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