Why Nurses Need A Google Doodle: #RNgoogledoodle Innovator No. 4

Happy Day 4 of telling the Google Doodle team why nurses need their very own, very first doodle!

I’ll be honest, it was hard to get myself indoors to write today; the sun finally showed up to New York City! Mostly, I wrote in the park, and in my little “garden” in the back.

Today, I wrote the doodlers about Carol Gino, a nurse that’s been trying to talk about what nurses do in innovative ways, to people other than nurses, for years. Perhaps you’ve heard of her book, The Nurses Story? If not, go find it.

I did some major troubleshooting last night, and realized that while the change.org platform is great for people without Facebook accounts, starting a Facebook page makes more sense. It’s easier to share, and an all-inclusive collaborative platform.

I challenge you (and myself) to share directly with those of your friends who aren’t nurses – to get our conversation going.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/rngoogledoodle

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To: proposals@google.com

April 8, 2014 6:12PM

Happy Wednesday, Doodlers!

Spring showed up to New York City today. Suddenly, the trees in the park are budding, the sun warm enough to take off jackets, everyone seems a little less crabbier than usual…I’m writing from a bench in my outdoor space, amazed at the change (that’s what we New Yorkers call the alley behind our house that has room for some plants). 
As I went through today, I was trying to decide what nurse innovator to introduce you to. I’ll be honest, this is a challenging project. Not because there are a lack of nurse innovators, but because so many are hidden behind the walls of academia, or nursing lingo, or silence. I’ll likely tell you about some more American Academy of Nursing Living Legends, and there are some pretty profound nurse activists out there with a good deal of press, but what I searched for today was a nurse who innovates in the business of conversation with the public about nursing. 
As nurses, we do so much that so few people seem to understand, but as my experiment continues, I’m realizing that has a lot to do with our lack of chatter. We definitely talk to each other, but we’re missing from the pages of our newspapers and the steps of our Congress buildings. We’ve got lots of Twitter and Facebook love, but we can’t quite seem to break out of RN-Centricity. It’s funny, we’re amazing at breaking down complicated medical lingo to our patients, but when it comes to talking about ourselves to people outside of the profession, we’re stumped. 
So, I decided today was a good day to talk about Carol Gino, who I’m deeming #RNgoogledoodle Innovator No. 4. As a new nurse, I stumbled across Gino’s book in a funny little used bookstore on Capitol Hill where it is hard to distinguish walls from tippy stacks of books. The Nurse’s Story, which launched Gino on a cross-country book tour after it was published in 1982, was a raw, raw find. Like Benner, our nurse innovator from yesterday, Gino has always aimed to tell the world what it really means to be a nurse. But unlike Benner’s cited manuscripts, Gino’s story reads like trade fiction; fast-paced, heart-wrenching, emotional. It almost seems unreal, unless you’re a nurse and you recognize the scenarios from ones you’ve lived through at work.
Gino is amazing because she didn’t do things the traditional way. She worked as a nurse because she had to, and to cope with the stress of her job, started writing short stories at night by her patients’ bedsides. After caring for Mario Puzo’s wife, she struck up a friendship with the famous author, who encouraged her to write her own story. She did, writing on her days off, and because of it, people in nine countries have read her compelling tale, one that is still a nursing-household name today.
Although Gino’s book came out thirty years ago, she has morphed with the times. Running a website, a YouTube video series, and a Twitter account focused on helping nurses use their voice in the media, she’s clearly a passionate innovator. I feel like she plucked the words right out of my brain on her NurseBytes Video, saying, “…the media portrays us badly…because we haven’t defined nursing for ourselves, and when we have, we haven’t spoken directly about what nurses do.” 
She’s continuing to speak directly. It’s all there in her poetic, compassionate, frantic dialogue that started with The Nurses Story. I’m bringing it along with me to the beach next week. I cracked it open for a refresher just now, and this line, ending a scene where Gino describes an emergent delivery of a baby, struck me in its innovative beauty: “It amazed me for years after, that before a baby takes his first breath, he’s the exact same color as a man after he takes his last.” Damn.
We all have nurse stories to tell. I’m sad when I hear exceptional clinical nurses say, “I’m too tired,” or “No one wants to hear about this sh**t.” That’s unimaginative and untrue, and if their stories met the public eye, I believe things would start to change for our profession. Gino used her position and experience to innovatively pave the way. Here’s hoping she, and others continue. 
-Amanda Anderson, RN 

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