Who’s a Nurse? The Leech Test at AJN

"Leech dance," by Thejaswswi, from Flickr.

"Leech dance," by Thejaswi, from Flickr.

The editorial staff of AJN includes both RNs and non-nurses. You can always tell who the RNs are by their reaction to photos of ugly wounds. The nurses love them and some of the non-nurses don’t even want to look at the photos. Case in point: the April CE article on leeches for wound healing. I think the photos are great. But many of the non-nurses find them disgusting. Are nurses simply sensitized to looking at ghastly images of wounds and abnormalities? Or do those who become nurses have a different sensibility? As a teenager, I used to love to babysit the children of a physician. After the kids were in bed, I’d comb through his medical library in search of the odd and gruesome images. I found them fascinating. I look forward to the New England Journal of Medicine each week and turn first to the Images in Clinical Medicine. A bit weird, I suppose. Or is it?

–Diana J. Mason, RN, AJN editor-in-chief emeritus

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Senior editor/social media strategy, American Journal of Nursing, and editor of AJN Off the Charts.

One Comment

  1. Thom Schwarz April 3, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    I’m not sure about the validity of the leech test. I began my healthcare career as an OR Orderly. I became curious about surgery and finally convinced a friend to take me in to observe a tonsilectomy. I couldn’t bring myself to watch, and the mere gurgling sound of the suction caused me to pass out six times! My friend kept laughing as she brought me around with ammonia snappers again and again. Eventually, I made it through but if she’d have shown me leeches I might still be a laundry-hauling orderly.

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