ATLANTA, GA — An old joke asks, “What do you call a nurse with a bad back?” The punchline is “unemployed.” As Americans get fatter, nurses struggle to lift and position the behemoths they care for.

nurses bench pressAgnes Postlethwaite, a veteran ICU nurse in Atlanta said, “Weightlifting wasn’t taught when I was in nursing school. I weigh about 125 pounds and I can’t roll a 370 pound patient onto her side. My hospital is recruiting male nurses who played college football. Things have changed.”

Indeed they have. Lord Have Mercy Hospital in Buckhead, an Atlanta suburb, is offering a $5000 finder’s fee to anyone who refers someone who can benchpress more than 300 pounds and start an IV line.

“Some of our employees are cruising gyms and teaching the biggest guys basic nursing skills, said Lourdes Morales, Director of Human Resources at Lord Have Mercy. “We pay more than five thousand dollars when someone already knows how to float a Swan or remove a chest tube. How our people are training the bodybuilders I don’t know and I don’t ask.”

There are hydraulic lifts for hospital and home use, but they are not cheap and families of heavy patients sometimes get upset when they see nurses hoisting their loved ones out of bed like a side of beef.

Gomerblog talked with Henry Pick, brother of Ralph Pick, who sued Atlanta  General Hospital for infliction of emotional distress.

“Six of us rolled in one day when Rodney was supposed to go for a stress test. We walk into his room and somehow they had his butt way up in the air and his head pointed down. I still get nightmares. We’ve got a good lawyer.”

T.U.R.N. — The Tallahassee Union of Registered Nurses —  has worked with high school football coaches to encourage players to include nursing in their future plans. “The odds of getting drafted out of college by the NFL are low,” said Head Coach Knute Cydeline at Tallahassee Central High. “I tell my players to study nursing. They’ll always have something to fall back on if they don’t make it to the Pros. I don’t push it so hard with place kickers, guys like that.”

**Neverkidd enjoys writing for Gomerblog because that lets him continue this unbroken record of never kidding. He is the author of “True Tales from a Physician Assistant,” which he wrote using a random pen name, available on Amazon HERE **