Nursing Voices

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Ugly Nurses Need Not Apply

I’m still looking for the perfect job, and my friends are trying to help. One of my friends, who is an attorney, told me not to send my application to a particular Washington D.C. hospital. He said it would be a waste of time because I’m not their “type.”

The facility, nestled in an upscale area of Washington D.C., caters to the nation’s rich and powerful. It’s where the beautiful people go when they are having a rough time. The hospital is holding their nurses to new and unusual standards, and these standards were brought to my friend’s attention when a nurse from this hospital came to his office for help. She said that the medical director called her into a meeting and informed her, in front of witnesses, that she is too old and ugly to work at their hospital. He explained it's about marketing, and that the hospital is updating its image. He said that only young, beautiful nurses would be allowed to work at the hospital. He also said that patients want beautiful nurses taking care of them, so she had to go. She was shown the door after thirty years of faithful service to the hospital. I’ve often thought that aging nurses would someday face age discrimination, but I never thought it would be brought up in such a blatant manner. Fortunately, this nurse has options because the medical director was stupid enough to make his insulting statements in front of a room full of witnesses.

Personally, I refuse to get a face-lift, a tummy tuck, and a boob job just so I can find or keep a job. I asked my friend why he told me about this hospital. Did he think that I was old and unattractive? He said he should have known not to discuss age and aesthetics with a woman of my “advanced years.” It’s a good thing that he is one of my best friends. I may be old and wrinkled, but I can still kick butt.


Blogger rlbates said...

Love "Ugly Betty" and your post. So sorry that life is like that some times (often). Best of luck.

5:20 PM  
Blogger jaz said...

Just when you think that people can't sink any lower...

10:28 PM  
Blogger Angry Nurse said...

Hey I'm old, bald, fat, ugly, bitter and twisted and would love to take on the person who was stupid enough to suggest they hired or fired on the basis of looks!

2:02 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

I'd much rather have an older less than perfect looking nurse who has the knowledge and experience to perform her job and to catch any small errors which could be threatening to my or my loved ones well being. Granted my ego would like a yound tight super hottie, but the fact that one such as that would have the experience necessary is highly unlikely.

4:06 AM  
Blogger Elaine said...

That is absolutely disgraceful! Good luck inb any job hunts. The last job I applied for (full time, I mean) was when I was 53. I am not beautiful (never was, even when young) but I got the job against many younger and better looking applicants because they recognised that I couod do the job.

So, not everywhere is like that Washington DC hospital.

4:43 AM  
Blogger pixelrn said...

Unbelievable that would still go on in this day and age.

Good luck with the job hunt - Don't give up!!!

5:56 AM  
Blogger The Curmudgeon said...


Did your friend the lawyer sign up the age discrimination suit? Is that why it was on his mind?

Wow again.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Mother Jones RN said...

My friend and I didn't discuss the details of his client's case, but I'm sure that there will be consequences forthcoming.

1:22 PM  
Blogger Jean-Luc Picard said...

I'd rather have Betty Suarez as an employee.

3:30 PM  
Blogger Labor Nurse said...

this can't possibly be for real... how could management get away with something that is clearly against the law?

9:27 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

What on earth would make someone think that such a policy would be even with within the realm of possibility? I'm also wondering if they only hire doctors who look like McDreamy and Ellen Pompeo (only a bit heavier, since her cachexic look might freak people out)...who wants to practice medicine from a catwalk anyway?

4:22 AM  
Blogger Jo said...

My hospital, too, has a high proportion of young, beautiful nurses (myself included, of course). We never frown, gain weight, or age.

It has a lot to do with those portraits of each of us that Manglement has stored in the attic.

7:25 AM  
Blogger Enrico said...

When the "beautiful and powerful" people start getting many times the rates of nosocomial infections and in general start dropping like flies because of the substandard care due to the ridiculous selection process (they could have Georgetown's best doctors; doesn't mean squat if you have substandard nursing), you won't want to be on that sinking ship when it goes down.

12:10 PM  
Blogger Student Nurse Jack said...

***brushes cookie crumbs off my laptop***

Please tell me she did not leave that room without getting in a few jabs. Was this medical director a Ken Doll himself, or middle aged, paunchy, hair starting to thin...just curious. That scenario reminds me of guys with spare tires and extra years who claim they won't date ugly chicks or women over a certain age. Because a plain-looking older woman wouldn't be worthy of a prize such as himself.

You know healthcare's in trouble when hospitals focus their recruitment harkening back to the days of stewardesses' weight limits/make-up requirements.

10:22 AM  
Blogger Evil HR Lady said...

Well, at least she can look forward to a nice settlement. Age discrimination is illegal, you know.

7:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like that hospital is not your type of place because you have a BRAIN!! No one in their right mind would stay employed there when surrounded by such nincompoopery. Jiminy Christmas!

5:08 PM  
Blogger DrugMonkey said...

Pharmacists are usually kept locked away in the basement, away from patients, yes? So I'm feeling pretty good about my chances of getting hired at this place.

You see, as a man committed to fairness, justice, and equity of opportunity, I feel it is my duty to investigate this travesty. Mainly by collecting the phone numbers of some of these nurses after I join the hospital staff. You some of the er...facts... of this case.

Yes, I should definitely start to collect these phone numbers. This cannot be allowed to stand. I am happy to be able to make some small contribution to help stop this injustice.

I stand ready to help.

2:32 AM  
Blogger EDRN said...

In case you didn't realize - not all beautiful people are stupid and incompetent.

3:33 AM  
Blogger wayitis said...

Well I stared off as nurse 30yrs ago and I am not any better or worse looking. I have a great background and was always certified to highest level in any specialty I was working. After 8yrs of being on the road with a medical service company. I left in good terms. I worked 10yrs ago at the local hospital where they have a nursing school. I can’t get a job. The truth is experience versus youth now days. Since they can pay a new nurse more money and because they general idea is that as we get older and expected decline in our health is anticipated. The senior nurses become less of an asset. So it seems that in cases of experience vs. youth and $$$ the senior nurse will lose.

5:07 PM  
Blogger teories said...

thanks for bringing this up. Nice blog for nurses

4:35 AM  

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