Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Political Orientation...Winds are shifting

Yesterday I had orientation for nursing school. For me, at least, it was emotional and exciting. We got the traditional pep talk from the Dean of Nursing, Dr. Miri Rom.

She gave us a run-down of the history of the School of Nursing, Hadassah Hospital, and nursing in Israel. Basically, in 1912 Henrietta Szold, the founder of Hadassah Women's Organization, decided that the thing the nascent Israel (then called Palestine) needed most was nurses. So Hadassah trained nurses and sent them specially to Israel. After doing this for about 10 years, Hadassah decided it would be better to train nurses here, in Israel, rather than import them. Thus was born the Hadassah School of Nursing, in 1922.

Eventually a hospital was needed for all these newly trained nurses, and so they built Hadassah Hospital, which has been in lots of places all over Jerusalem. Eventually Hadassah settled in the Ein Kerem campus (where the nursing school is), and only after the War of Independance did they decide to add on a Medical school, dental school, Pharmacy. And eventually, the hospital and the schools joined wiht Hebrew University, which was only established in 1925.

All these mergers and acquisitions led us to the Henrietta Szold School of Nursing of Hadassah and Hebrew University, a rather unwieldy name.

Dr. Rom congratulated us on choosing the chosen profession, the only profession that is more or less selfless. As she put it, "You aren't doing it for the respect, because you won't get any; not for the work conditions, because they're awful; and definitely not for the money!" And for being chosen by the most prestigious nursing school in the country. Then she charged us with the duty of becoming nurses, of serving the public, of becomgin the guardians of health and hygiene.

I think the thing that most impacted me was when she said, "Look outside those windows. See the hills, and the city? That's where politics will stay. Politics has no place in nursing, nor in any healthcare profession. In this building, and in this hospital, we are all the same...Jew, Muslim, religious, non-religious. All patients are the same and all healthcare workers as well."

This message was echoed by the representatives of the Student Union. Apparently at other campuses, there are political parties, but at the Faculty of Medicine politics are not allowed to be discussed.

Looking around the 80 or so students that comprise my shlucha (Hadassah Ein Kerem), and the other 50 from Kaplan and Assaf Harofeh hospital (outlying hospitals which are slightly easier to get into), the make-up was very different than what I am used to interacting with on a daily basis here in Israel. Out of the 80 students, I would say there were 15 males, 65 females. Of the males, 13 were Arab and 2 were Russian. Of the women, I would say 15 were religious (I did this based on who washed netilat yedayim before the sandwiches they distributed - not clothing), maybe another 10 were religious Muslims, another 10 were not wearing the headscarf but clearly Arab, and the rest were non-religious Jews.

Also, all but 2 students are younger than me, and so far I think I am the only one who has gone to college before.

My political orientation is right-wing. Not violent right-wing, or anarchist right-wing, but right-wing. I believe Israel has a right to all land won in any war (just like any other country), has a right to erect a fence to protect its citizens, has a right to retaliate and even instigate attacks in order to protect its citizens. I just wish we didn't have to. I don't believe all Arabs are bad, or out to get me. Its just hard, because I can't always know who is friend and who is foe.

So if I cross the street to avoid an Arab person, its not because I hate them, or I'm racist. It's out of fear. When I'm in a place I deem safe (inside a building where we've already gone through security), I enjoy learning about the Arab culture, and a few words here and there. And the nursing school is definitely a safe place. I finally have an opportunity to establish an ongoing relationship with Arabs, and I'm excited about that too. I'm not sure the world's problems can be solved by dialogue and cookies, but for me, it's a good start.

Also, I went on a good date last night with a nice boy that I met, and it went well and he called me again to ask me out again. More on this if anything develops. But it has been a while since I have gone on a real (ie -- not blind) date.

So life is definitely looking up!

In fact, as a funny, we were on a tour of the hospital and the med. school campus, when this boy called to firm up our plans. I was chatting with him and following the tour and not really paying attention, and at some point I noticed that it got pretty chilly. I asked some girl where we were and she said "Hacheder meitim" - The Morgue! I got off the phone pretty quickly.


Blogger Jack's Shack said...

Nursing is a very honorable profession. I don't think that I could do it, but I am very appreciative of those who do.

7:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey! Did you lose the keys to your blog or something?! :-)


1:43 PM  

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