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Image created by: Jim Hulsey

By now you’ve likely heard about Senator Maureen Walsh and her regrettable comment suggesting nurses likely spend most of their time, “playing cards all day.”

Her exact quote was, “By putting these types of mandates on a critical access hospital that literally serves a handful of individuals, I would submit to you those nurses probably do get breaks. They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day.”

I understand that politicians sometimes say things they don’t mean. They sometimes put their foot in their mouth, because they’re speaking about a topic they may not be experts in. I realize they may get emotional and say something they regret. I truly get it. It happens. They’re human. Just like police officers.

So how does this relate to police officers and policing?

Well, put simply, this is a glaring example of how people in the media, politics, and the general public, love to judge professions and jobs from the outside looking in. Despite the fact they have ZERO idea what it is like to “walk a mile” in any of their shoes.

I have been in law enforcement for over 13 years, I’ve seen and done a lot things in that time. You know what I’ve never done? Worked 12 hours as a nurse. I’ve never actually been a firefighter or paramedic, despite working side by side with them on a daily basis. I’ve interacted with many nurses and doctors over the years, going to hospitals with prisoners and checking on shooting, stabbing, or rape victims.

We are all public servants, but that’s where the similarities end. I couldn’t make the statement Senator Walsh did about nurses, because I have no idea what their day to day is like. So why guess and look foolish? Even worse, why make the assumption they don’t do anything but play cards and collect a paycheck?

Why are we so quick to act as if we have any clue what it’s like to do someone’s job based on assumptions, or worse, what we see on TV? Everyone complains about negativity and division in our country, yet they run around slinging assumptions and negativity like society’s existence depends on it.

The media loves to put out news that fits their bias, we already know that is a fact. We don’t need more comments like Senator Walsh’s to make things worse. Comments like hers help create false narratives. They lend credence to a narrative that can grow and become a powerful thing. One that can end in violence or death. Narratives that radicalize people and make them do things most of us can’t fathom. It’s happened with police officers, it can happen with any profession.

In all fairness to Senator Walsh, I’ve seen reports stating she might be shadowing a nurse for a 12 hour shift in the near future. I not only hope it’s true, I hope the shift shows her how truly amazing our nurses are and how they deserve our gratitude and respect. Good for her. She stepped in it, but at least she’s willing to remedy the situation and walk a mile.

If only the anti-police crowd would take a page from Senator Walsh. If only the anti-police crowd would go on a ride along with police to actually see the difficulties of the job. If only the anti-police crowd would educate themselves by attending a citizen’s academy or participating in training exercises designed to highlight the difficulties of use of force situations. If only they would choose to walk a mile in the shoes of those they condemn, before picking up their loud speaker shouting for accountability and transparency, despite the fact they have no idea what it is like to be a police officer.

If only…

An ill-advised comment was made. A mistake. A regrettable one at that. However, it is commendable that Senator Walsh recognizes that she spoke without actually knowing what a 12 hour shift as a nurse is like. Hopefully, she will soon find out.

If only everyone had the humility to seek knowledge and experience before casting judgment, our society, our law enforcement, and all public servants would be much better off.

Thank an officer, nurse, fire fighter, EMT, or any public servant today.

Without them, then who?

The Officer Next Door

 

 

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12 Comments »

  1. Saw the face of a police officer after he pulled a deceased child from a pool. Watched fireman collapse from exhaustion and take five minutes break to go back at it to save someone’s life. Never known a nurse that didn’t have sore feet from 10 and 12 hour shifts.

  2. Aren’t Police Officers always eating doughnuts and too busy to actually do any work? And that Police Car with the lights and sirens on……well he just picked up the Pizzas to take back to the office.

    There will always be ignorant people that make ridiculous claims but the sad part is that the sections of the community that probably see “First Responders” the least, are the most likely people to repeat the comments.

    Police, Ambulance, Fire Fighters, any First Responder does an amazing job at a high cost to their own emotional and mental health. The tragedy, loss and suffering that they see on a daily basis can do nothing but harm them and so they have to fight daily to try and remain sane, to remain unaffected as much as possible and to enjoy life and blank out the horrific scenes that they have witnessed, even whilst eating a BBQ with their family or kicking a ball with their young son.

    The old saying “Walk a mile in my shoes” is so true. Please do not be critical of these people doing a great job just because you see them having a coffee, probably their first in a 10 hour shift. A Nurse sitting on a bench outside of the ER eating a sandwich, 7 hours after she started and those Fireman sitting in the Fire Station……. may well be the ones that were up all night fighting that fire at your neighbours house.

    People need to think before talking……….. then they need to “walk a mile in my shoes”.

  3. “but at she’s willing”…”but at least she’s willing” Thanks for a great site to get law enforcement news from a police perspective! I enjoy all of your letters, and often share on my FB page.

  4. I have been a nurse for 23 years.
    I have worked 12 hr shifts that turned into 14 or 16 hrs.
    I have helped babies be born and I have been there holding a hand of person that was alone and scared while taking their last breath.
    I have comforted patients with physical and emotional pain.
    I have worked so long on my feet that my ankles, Hips and back have arthritis pain I deal with on a daily basis.
    I have worked with mentally I’ll people who have beat me, scratched me, bit me, peed on me, pooped on me, hacked green boogers on me, threw up on me.
    ALL THIS WHILE BEING A DIVROCED SINGLE MOM
    I worked while I, myself was sick because there were not enough nurses to take care of patients.
    I worked with a full bladder that felt like it was going to explode because there was not enough time to go to the bathroom.
    I work through my lunch time because of the same reason and many times felt like I was going to pass out from lack of food or rest.
    BUT I HAVE NEVER found the time to play cards while i was working.

  5. Even if she’s willing to shadow for a shift, she will still never be able to understand all the thoughts, calculations, lab reading, medication side effects and what all the meds are for, diagnosis and what treatments are needing to be done next, she won’t understand the data and actions, the emotion, intelligence, and physical work it takes. It’s something she still won’t be able to feel, or understand. She better not come out of her 12 hour shadow thinking she’s an expert and say something even more stupid.

  6. I have both nurses and police officers in my family and I have NEVER heard any of them talk about slacking off their work. I agree with anyone who says that the “pundants” out there should learn what these wonderful, overworked and underpaid people do and spend a day with them before they go off spouting their mouths. These people risk their lives for us. They spend hours taking care of us. People need to think what would happen if we did not have nurses (and of course doctors), police officers and firefighters. And it is the same with our military personnel (I have them in family also) who are constantly maligned. Ok, I have spouted off enough,. If you see a nurse, police officer, firefighter or military person, stop and thank them for their service. And thank God that they are there.

  7. Having recently spent five days in the hospital, I know how hard these nurses, and the PCAs work. I could never do what they do, and many are mothers, single or married. I was outraged when I read that remark in the paper. She obviously has no clue how the other half lives. Unfortunately, there are some police officers who have not followed the law, and have given the whole police profession a bad name and a dark cloud hanging over them. But, I’ve seen the good ones in action. I’ve been on the receiving end of help from fire fighters during a flood, and several of my in-laws are members of a fire department. These first responders and nurses are under appreciated, under paid, and severely overworked. Let’s stop the foolish comments.

    • Many in every profession create a black cloud. The difference is when a police officer does it, it’s front and center on the news. But yes, you’re right, politicians often write checks they can’t cash. They speak as if they know what it’s like to walk in our shoes. They don’t.

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