October 29, 2002
6:02 AM   Subscribe

"Sometimes I question the wisdom of continuing on in a profession that is under siege and under valued. I am aging, I am tired and some days I don’t know how I can continue to teach the newest and brightest of our profession." Part of an essay written last year by Cheryl McGaffic, one of the nursing professors killed by a disgruntled student at the University of Arizona yesterday.
posted by rcade (13 comments total)
You also do not have guns in the U.K. I spent my morning helping one of my undergrads clean the blood and brain matter off the back of the head of a 23 year old who attempted to kill himself after killing his girlfriend. The blood and brains had been on his head for four days. We talked about how much pain he must have been in to do this (in direct opposition to the nurses who were "punishing him" for his actions by ignoring his basic needs). We held his hand. We talked to his mother who "noticed" that someone had washed his hair. This is "med-surg" nursing.

wow, she sounds like a great nursing instructor.
posted by kliuless at 6:41 AM on October 29, 2002

I feel so angry reading that essay that any eloquence I might ordinarily possess fails me utterly.

The bitter, ugly irony that this woman's life was squandered by a gun...it's almost too much to bear.

When I get back to the States I am melting down my AR-15 and my Glock pistol, that none may ever wield them again, for any purpose at all.

Thanks, rcade.
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:18 AM on October 29, 2002

The killer had five guns. You can't have too many.

Why do all these people insist on falling down dead in pathetic, doomed attempts to make guns look bad? Don't they know that only guns keep us free?
posted by sacre_bleu at 8:15 AM on October 29, 2002

Sorry, I couldn't help myself. She sounds like an amazing woman, and I wish she could have cared for my parents at their end. Another light snuffed out.

In actual support of the thread, the allnurses.com bulletin board's thread on the incident.
posted by sacre_bleu at 8:20 AM on October 29, 2002

Odd that this person killed nearly half as many as the Sniper and you'll hear barely a word about it. It goes to show how pyschological fear of death is so much more interesting than actual murder.
posted by cell divide at 8:24 AM on October 29, 2002

That, and the fact that three or four shot dead in one paroxysm of rage isn't really remarkable any more. Quick, name the last town where a student walked into a school and killed people.

A dozen victims in an extended, public, random-victim hunting season is highly unusual, thus the extraordinary attention for the sniper.
posted by sacre_bleu at 8:36 AM on October 29, 2002

Quick, name the last town where a student walked into a school and killed people.

Grundy, Va., Jan. 16, 2002.
posted by PrinceValium at 10:05 AM on October 29, 2002

Nurses are extraordinary people. In any kind of decent world, it is they who would be pulling in the enormous "CEO" salaries. They toil at tasks most of us would shudder over, with a compassion that is angelic.

Good nursing care is absolutely critical, and we need more nurses to provide that care. Recent research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows the odds of patient mortality rises 7 percent for every additional patient added to the average nurse's workload.

Nursing and medicine are sciences of healing bound fast to the art of caring, a path with heart traveled by those that Albert Camus described in The Plague as "all who, while unable to be saints but refusing to bow down to pestilences, strive their utmost to be healers." Nurses, even more so than physicians, most often fit that ideal.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 11:11 AM on October 29, 2002

Hate to say this, but it was on our side of the pond. Erfurt, Germany, april 26.
posted by esha at 11:16 AM on October 29, 2002

this is the saddest story i've heard in a long time.
posted by shoos at 12:06 AM on October 30, 2002

a comapssionate and caring woman wrenched from her pupils by a truly pathetic and ultimately cowardly person, this paradox, the cruel and twisted irony.
posted by johnnyboy at 4:49 AM on October 30, 2002

The saddest irony of McGaffic's essay is that she would've been the first to tend to the injuries of a psychopath who shot up his school. She had strong concern for the patient as a whole person, rather than a collection of assorted injuries requiring medical care, and this guy derisively mocked her for that compassion before murdering her.

When a news story first breaks, I often google the participants to see if there was anything on the Web that offers insight into their lives. I wasn't expecting to find something here that put the life of a healer in such sharp contrast to the person who took it away.
posted by rcade at 8:19 AM on October 30, 2002

The killer tells his side of the story in a 23 page letter from the grave, scanned in and posted in its entirety by the Arizona Daily Star. Servers are slow, and timeouts are frequent. Reading this just might help prevent future similar incidents.
posted by ewagoner at 11:54 AM on October 30, 2002

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