Within all of us there is a little hero who is awaiting an opportunity to take their place in the glorious spotlight of the moral and altruistic throne. If they’re lucky, they may even be honoured with a photo on social media or in the local paper, where honey combed words describe the epic tale of the brave heroes who have saved the life of another.
It’s not a shameful thing, in fact it’s a state of mind that should be encouraged for when our time comes. Indeed we should have the bravery to rush in and save our fellow man…and politely back away when the professionals arrive…
It did strike me as shock to come across the truth regarding the individuals whose first and last job of the day is to care for those who are currently unable to do theirs. Whilst speaking with Ciaran Hurley, a former nurse and current lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University, we discussed how it feels to save a life and the implications surrounding the profession.
The ‘questionably universal’ truth is that it’s not an individual honour or claim. Ciaran described to me how it’s one of the great falsities of the modern media to depict a handsome and charming Doctor Grey or a deeply broken Doctor House who stride into a patient’s room dramatically to save the day, only to return home with a high dose of ego boost. Thus, shamefully overshadowing the hard and dedicated work of the team. Saving a life in the real world is anything but a singular task and Ciaran emphasised this fact throughout our discussion.
There does exist a hierarchy of importance in roles and a line of command within the surgical theatre as described by Ciaran. The surgeon is at the top followed by, the often unsung, anaesthetist and anything from between 4 and 10 nurses and assistants. All of whom are vital in the process of saving a life. For Ciaran, being raised in a catholic household has meant that he has always been intrigued by healing miracles, it therefore seemed only fitting to pursue the life of a healer.
However, it may have been the life threatening car accident he experienced at the age of 13 that had sealed his life to a medical profession. He described that if it had not been for the doctors and nurses who had aided him, he may never have had the chance to continue. This appreciation and humbleness had clearly lit a fire of desire to help others. Ciaran’s motivation to work in the health care profession was not only for the buzz one feels when they’re able to help someone else, but rather the aim of “getting people back to normal and their life.”
At the risk of sounding Freudian, it is worth considering the reasons for one being inherently altruistic like Ciaran. Seemingly born with the milk of human kindness, almost driven to perform helpful deeds for those in need, for no particular reward or reason.
This makes me wonder if we now live in a society that is driven by the promise of a reward or some materialistic incentive?