Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: nurse

  • Daumier’s doctors

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “Comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.”– Reinhold Niebuhr Honoré Daumier (1808–1879) was a “fundamentally discontented” French social critic, painter, sculptor, and printmaker. He produced over 100 sculptures, 500 paintings, 1000 drawings, 1000 engravings, and 4000 lithographs.1 Balzac said of his work, “There is something of Michelangelo in him.” Daumier hated anything…

  • Doris Unland: Surgical nurse extraordinaire

    Frederic Grannis Duarte, California, United States Doris Unland RN “scrubbed in” OR 10. Doris Unland was an extraordinary American surgical nurse who worked for forty-seven years at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota. She may have participated in more major surgical operations than any other person—physician or nurse—in history. Born on December 19, 1910, she…

  • “A Veritable Angel of Mercy”: the sardonic representation of Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

    Mariella Scerri Mellieha, Malta   Group photograph of the first twenty Navy Nurses, appointed in 1908. Naval Photographer. 1908. Wikimedia. Public Domain. Critical acclaim and popular opinion have elevated Kesey’s first novel, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest published in 1962, to something of a modern classic, much read and written about as well as adapted…

  • Letting go of logic

    Nimisha BajajColumbus, Ohio, United States “He’s here for aspiration pneumonia. He doesn’t want a G-tube even though we tried to explain to him that if he continues to eat and drink by mouth, this will keep happening and he will eventually die from it. Can you come down and see him?” The palliative care fellow,…

  • Grit

    Romalyn AnteWolverhampton, England My mother is right—my brother’s blood is getting dirtier. A nurse like me, she had read the result of his glomerular filtration rate, a test that measures how well the kidneys clean the blood. It had dropped below 15, an indication that his chronic renal failure was reaching its end stage. Some…

  • Preparation for surgery

    A nurse and a surgeon, both wearing gown and mask. Etching by H.A. Freeth. Copyright M, A and R Freeth. CC BY   This simple drawing of a nurse and surgeon preparing for work captures the tension in the moment just before surgery begins. Though only a small portion of either figure’s face is visible,…

  • Those eyes

    Susan Woldenberg Butler Canberra, Australia   Publication Acknowledgement: This fictional short story was published in Secrets from the Black Bag (Royal College of General Practitioners Publications; London, December, 2005). I’ve always involved myself in the lives of my patients and their families. Familiarity with context helps me to provide better treatment and nourishes such mental…

  • Undignified

    Christopher Schayer New Haven, Connecticut, United States   Reading Devotions to Grandfather, Albert Ankler, 1893, Switzerland-Bern In walks another set of new faces. More white lab coats, asking their questions, poking and prodding at me, lifting my Johnny coat as if I’m a mere object for their scientific minds to investigate. They come and they…

  • The “Bangka Island Massacre”: Australian military nurses in the Pacific War

    Angharad Fletcher London and Hong Kong   Centaur Poster “Civilian nurses, bound on errands of mercy among the worst underworld dens, are never in danger from the most hardened criminals. But Australia’s nurses were not safe from the Japanese. No British citizen forgets the name of Nurse Edith Cavell. Australia now has her own Edith…