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Imagine That — Nurses: Country Music’s Egregious Omission

Patsy Cline, The Lady, The Legend

Living in Tennessee as I do, I hear a lot of country music.  It occurred to me recently that no one has ever written a hit country song about nurses.  I trolled the internet to confirm my suspicion, and it seems to be true.  I think this is an egregious omission.

Nursing as we know it and country music were born around the same time.  I have my doubts about whether Florence would approve—she was, after all, pretty uptight—but I think it’s time we call on country music artists to fill this gaping void in the country music canon.  The themes of a nursing career and the themes of country music are naturals together.

Tragic Incidents

“Phantom 309” immortalizes a truck driver who crashes for the sake of others.  Randy Travis’ recent “Three Wooden Crosses” honors teachers, farmers, preachers, and prostitutes in a car-wreck scenario.  Isn’t there a place for a dedicated ER or OR nurse in a song from this gut-wrenching sub-genre?


Anyone who has ever done 1:1 or private duty with a sleeping patient on a long, dark night of the soul knows all about this one.  The subconscious thoughts of the protagonists, if they are of opposite genders, might make a great male-female duet in the Tammy Wynette-George Jones tradition.  It wouldn’t be the first time a talented country duo had a hit song about a dream.


Surely, some hell-raiser somewhere has encountered a psychiatric or correctional nurse worth memorializing in song.  Hank Williams Jr.’s “Family Tradition” (“Hank, why do you drink?  Hank, why do you roll smoke?”), which sounds a bit like a mental health assessment, cracks the door open for an outlaw country nurse song.

Obstacles to Healthy Romantic Relationships

You work Baylor weekends, and the object of your affection works Monday to Friday, nine to five.  He or she could sing a heart-wrenching ballad about waiting for you to come home from after twelve hours on the front lines of patient care, and what happens when you finally walk in the door.  In the song, you can’t get out of your clothes fast enough to get into bed.  In reality, you can’t get out of your contaminated scrubs fast enough to get them into the washer.

Neon Lights, Noisy Honky-Tonks and Fancy Footwork

Flashing alarm lights and call signals, alarming ventilators and wander-guards, the “don’t slip in that puddle” two-step…how about a song about an overworked ICU nurse pining for a well-deserved night out?


“The Bed by the Window” is about patients in a nursing home, and it’s a real tear jerker.  Surely there’s a nurse in that nursing home with a story to tell too.  I’ve experienced shift-to-shift reports that would make great country music songs in and of themselves.  Maybe I should take this idea home, and write that song myself.

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