Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Thoreau and Passing the Torch

Last night while doing an assessment on the cardiovascular unit, I looked around at a gaggle of nurses. It was the traditional chaos time known as "change of shift". Nurses giving reports to the oncoming night shift RN's.

It struck me then: I'm the oldest one on the unit!

I looked around at this new generation of competent nurses. All of them under 30 years of age or so. All of them looking fresh and clean and full of idealism.

Passing the torch. Watching them preparing to work hard to provide care to patients who are more my age than theirs, well, it was a little humbling. Not only that: It was exciting! Thoreau didn't have much good to say about his elders (which always made me wonder how Emerson felt about that?). I wonder if these youthful nurses have the same ideology towards me?

The world has changed for them. They all have their Smart Phones; they can whiz through a totally incomprehensible computer program they make us use---without any difficulties. They can stay up later, get less sleep, push harder than I can. Ah, youth!

And they are friendly. Frankly, I don't think they do have cynicism towards the older nurse. What they do have is a love of technology. A literacy in the computer age that is theirs. And not so much mine.

Passing torches. These kids may have more electronic gadgets; what they don't have is space. Wilderness. Or a love of the same. They miss out on much. Yet, not all hope is lost. They seem willing to learn. To explore. They are open to new ideas.

As we pass the torch to a new generation, perhaps we should be doing this on the hiking trail? We outdoor advocates need to take the younger ones outside. Have them leave the damned electronics at home and get on the trail with these enthusiastic kids. They will listen. They aren't as obtuse about wisdom like we were when we were thirty. They crave experience. All they need is someone to present the idea to them.

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