1. Bingham, Ray RNC

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I appreciate AJN 's commitment to artistic expression in publishing its monthly Art of Nursing column. I also appreciate that the many forms of expression are open to interpretation. But the poem "The Women of the NICU" (November 2005) implies that only women work with infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). I worked 15 years in a NICU as a technician and then as an RN. I have known many other nurses, therapists, technicians, and physicians who are men and who are dedicated to caring for sick and preterm newborns.


The poet pays attention when the nurses move with "intense delicacy," when they slip "in / and out of gloves, / gowns," when they bend over to "dig out more clean cloth." Did the nurses assess the infant, respond to his needs and crises, and otherwise help him overcome a serious illness? Did they talk with the parents, answer questions, arrange for home care?


In "An End to Angels" (May 2005), Suzanne Gordon and Sioban Nelson decried "nursing's traditional stereotype of women born to be good, kind, and self-sacrificing" and asserted that the comforting-angel stereotype does an injustice to today's nurses, who are "educated to provide care based on science and practical skill." The arts can play a role in conveying a broad, humanistic portrait of nursing.


Ray Bingham, RNC


Montgomery Village, MD