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Jul 2nd 2012 1:23PM Heather,
I'm an RN and have been for 28 years, and can identify with much of what you and one of the above posters said. I can equate nursing with being a flight attendant as we are kind of in the "service industry" as well, dealing with the public and with complaints and the like, albeit our clients are critically ill. (The complaints are mostly from family members and usually stress-induced and not valid, but that is beside the point--much of what you deal with is stress-induced as well, I suspect.) The newer generation of nurses are of a completely different mindset and work ethic than our generation. For the most part, they are there to do their jobs, get out and go home. They stand around and text and check Facebook on their phones all day (which, by the way, is not allowed). I work in a very large ICU in a metropolitan trauma center and have off and on for 26 years. A large group of us have been here for years and are like a family. We work long hours as well and sometimes have to stay over. We are very helpful to one another and would stay to help the next shift if needed. Some of the newer nurses would watch us coding a patient, clock out and leave because their shift was over. The "old, weary" nurses are the most knowledgeable ones and the best in a crisis. And all of us aren't overweight and dumpy--not that it should matter!
That being said, very rarely have I had a rude flight attendant when I have flown. I've actually had some very sweet ones (and they were usually always older). When I had a couple who weren't so sunny, I figured it was due to some passenger who was rude to her/him. I bite my tongue at work and never let it effect my disposition, but I only have 2 patients at a time--not a whole planeful. I've been appalled at the behavior of fellow passengers to the flight attendants. I feel for you and your co-workers because I know what it's like to be in the position of helping someone and having them treat you like an indentured servant. I love my job and the vast majority of my patients are enjoyable, great people but the few who are not can really ruin your day. The people who are saying "So just quit if you don't like it!" have never been in that position. There is no reason to ever treat a fellow human being who is there to help you like that. You are doing the best you can, especially with all the cuts that have been made, and it is beyond your control if the plane is delayed or you're out of peanuts.