Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC
Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC

OK, so this has to be the oddest title of any of my blogs. But it’s something this incredible speaker (Calvin Stovall) said during his keynote speech at the recent National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration (NADONA/LTC) conference in Niagara Falls.

He mentioned white water rafting. All rapids are rated on a “class” scale to help you determine the size and technicality of the whitewater. The scale goes from I-VI.  

Now, I don’t know how many of you have been, but I have. When I lived in Maryland, I would go with friends, but in Maryland on the rivers where I rafted the currents are somewhat tame. The rapids I experienced were usually up to a II, but sometimes there would be a brief III where the wave can come over the boat, but mildly and not for long.

However, Calvin talked about his experience whitewater rafting in the Grand Canyon. He wound up facing level V rapids. Level V are extremely difficult, long, very violent rapids with highly congested routes. With level V, one can expect vertical drops, strong currents, big waves, boulders, and holes large enough to flip boats. 

So, Calvin said that the guide taught them a very important maneuver. When the guide yelled, “Suck rubber!” they were to bend over and “kiss” the bottom of the boat so the wave would go over them, not knock them overboard and into the rapids. In other words, take the appropriate precautions and protect yourself from those crushing waves.

OK, so what’s the point, you say? What has this got to do with our day-to-day life? Well, I kind of see those that don’t take appropriate precautions to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their residents from COVID as someone who is trying to stand up to a class V or VI rapid. It’s not being brave; to me that’s not caring about yourself or others.

We now know that 99% of those getting COVID right now are the unvaccinated. Running around in crowded venues unvaccinated and maskless is like balancing on the edge of that raft as you go into that class V rapid. The chances of getting knocked down and swept away into the rapids is pretty high, and you’re gonna’ take others into those dangerous waters with you. Maybe you should have listened to your guide. Let’s face it: Sometimes you just have to suck rubber.

I mean, it is great to be curious and we should always ask questions. That’s important. But we also should take our advice from the experts instead of taking it from someone who has never ridden a class V before. Just saying.

Just keeping it real,

Nurse Jackie

The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, BSN, CDONA/LTC, Senior Director of Clinical Innovation and Education for Mission Health Communities, LLC and an APEX Award of Excellence winner for Blog Writing. Vance is a real-life long-term care nurse. A nationally respected nurse educator and past national LTC Nurse Administrator of the Year, she also is an accomplished stand-up comedienne. The opinions supplied here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer or her professional affiliates.

The opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest submissions are the author’s and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News or its editors.