a preview of some new writing

When I became a nurse, I became a member of a largely feminine workforce and of a highly respected ‘profession’. I became a proud member of Australia’s biggest union. I became an advocate for the sick and incapacitated people in my care. But when I became a nurse, I also became fully integrated into the system of capitalism. I received a wage in exchange for, but not necessarily in proportion to, the surplus value I produced. When I became a nurse I adapted my days, weeks and years to the dictates of a new schedule. Like others of my class, I experienced mounting debt, and sought solace in ephemeral pleasures; I became a consumer of a lifestyle I did not necessarily choose.
When one thinks of nurses, one generally thinks of a hospital, and that is indeed where I work. Since completing my training eight years ago, I’ve worked in a medium-sized private hospital in a major regional town. Knocking off after a particularly frantic shift, it takes me a while to wind down. I can hear the electronic sound of the patient call bells echoing in my ears, I find myself wondering whether I should document my bowel movements, and experience an acute craving for foods containing butter, sugar, condensed milk, and preferably all three. To the bloke in hi-vis parked near a bakery, desperately cramming a pie into your mouth at 10.30 in the morning, I understand you in a way I never thought I would. When I became a nurse, I became one of those doughy bodies thick with fatigue.


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