March is Women’s History Month, a time where we highlight the contributions of women to society. Comprising the largest health care profession, the vast majority of nurses (93%) are women making it highly appropriate to end Women’s History Month with a look at three nurses of historical note.
“Male nurses are found to earn about $5,000 more than female colleagues.” (Not quite) shocking news! A recently released JAMA study, hitting numerous airwaves and media outlets found significant pay discrepancies between nurses who are female and nurses who are male. How could this happen in the most female (women make up about 93% of all nurses) profession? The study did not address reasons why pay inequity exists in nursing, yet, reports on the results offered some hypotheses. One of the study’s investigators suggested that men may negotiate better (Ouch, that rationale literally hurts!) or that women experience a tougher time getting promoted. Investigators plan to carry out additional research focusing on explanations for pay gaps in nursing.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a complex mental health disorder that affects up to 7% of the population, and as much as 17% of returned service personnel from combat zones. The American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) defines PTSD broadly as a cluster of four distinct symptoms: re-experiencing, negative alterations in cognition and mood, avoidance, and hyperarousal. The DSM also notes that PTSD may or may not be co-morbid with other mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, traumatic brain injury, substance abuse or suicide.
March 7, 1965, was a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement: the day known as Bloody Sunday when peaceful demonstrators marching from Selma to Montgomery were viciously assaulted by local police and Alabama state troopers. The injured were taken to Good Samaritan Hospital where the Sisters of St. Joseph were called to extraordinary service. Not only Sisters who were nurses, but also those who taught at St. Elizabeth’s School hurried from the convent to assist the victims. (The Sisters of St. Joseph of Rochester who staffed the hospital and school had been serving in Selma since 1940.)