Forget the chief -- did you see that nurse?


April 25, 2007|By LAURA VOZZELLA

Baltimore City firefighters must be asking themselves lots of questions at a time like this - when the department is reeling from a fatal, flawed training exercise, and two fire unions are calling for the chief's resignation.

Here's one of the most consuming questions of late: "Which hospital has the hottest nurses?"

City firefighters conducted a poll on that subject on, a fire and emergency medical services forum. The winner, by far: Shock Trauma.

No wonder injured firefighters and police always seem to go to Shock Trauma! And I thought it was for the excellent medical care.

One hundred forty-six firefighters took the time to weigh in on the relative sexiness of city RNs. That's significantly more than the number - a total of about 100 - of rank-and-file firefighters and officers who took part in two, separate no-confidence votes on Chief Bill Goodwin this month.

The nurse poll results were posted Thursday, the same day someone started a thread about the no-confidence vote. As of midday yesterday, the sexy nurses bit had been viewed 9,346 times. The Goodwin posting had 4,672 views.

Lest you think sex is the only thing that sells on the site: The most popular thread is all photos, color photos, of ... firetrucks.

Not unusual or historic firetrucks. Or action shots. Just simple snaps of everyday rigs - the 2003 Pierce Enforcer, for instance, and the 1987 Spartan Monarch - parked in front of their respective firehouses.

Number of views: 124,757.

Sex is a good thing, but not on the job

The nurse poll was news to Fire Department spokesman Rick Binetti, who said he'd try to get back to me with a comment but apparently thought better of it.

I did find someone willing to chat about it: Sandy Summers, executive director of the Center for Nursing Advocacy. The Baltimore-based group is best known for its campaign against the Heart Attack Grill, a Tempe, Ariz., burger joint whose waitresses wear skimpy nurse outfits.

"It's the old naughty nurse image," she said. "It's just plagued the nursing profession, as if we're some sort of in-hospital prostitutes."

Beyond being annoying, the image makes it hard for nurses to be taken seriously, which hurts recruitment and the quality of hospital care, Summers said. (Hospital administrators are all the more likely to replace nurses with technicians if RNs are viewed as "frivolous," she said.)

A former trauma center nurse who has been mocked for her letter-writing campaign against the burger joint, Summers stressed that she's not anti-sex, or even anti-sexy nurse.

"We're not against nurses having sex in their private lives. We're not against nurses being sexually attractive," she said. "It's the idea that we provide sex as part of our professional services."

She was even willing to put the best possible spin on the poll: "It could be they find clinical excellence to be very hot. I hope that's what they're referring to."

Just like you and me, but with money

If working for a perfectionist is tough, what's it like working for Bree Van de Kamp, the Desperate Housewives character who makes Martha Stewart look like a slacker?

Baltimore's Mary Bauer says no sweat.

Bauer, who with her husband owns the chi-chi children's furniture store Bratt Decor, just helped actress Marcia Cross do up the nursery for her twin girls. The pretty lilac-and-white results were featured in this week's People.

Bauer flew out to Cross' Brentwood home, but except for the transcontinental travel, it was an ordinary job. Ordinary, anyway, for anyone with $20,000 to splurge on a nursery.

While her character never has a hair out of place, Cross greeted Bauer at the door "in sweats, oversized shirt, and hair in a ponytail and no makeup on."

"You're so used to seeing her on television in that role. She's really not Bree Van de Kamp," Bauer said. "She's got a wonderful home, but it's not a McMansion by any standards. No gates. It's not a gated mansion community. ... Kind of like what you'd see in Roland Park. I was pleasantly surprised by how low-key it was."

How's the governor like a reptile?

Martin O'Malley might want to think twice before he hands the microphone to Mike Miller.

Yesterday at a ceremony to sign bills on the environment and other topics - including a ban on the commercial harvest of diamondback terrapin - the Senate president turned to the governor and said, "The terrapin is the only creature on earth like your administration, governor. It may not go as fast as other people want it to go, but it never goes backward."

O'Malley, who should be used to this kind of thing from Miller by now, froze for several seconds with a bemused expression on his face, The Sun's Andrew Green reports. Then the gov mustered a comeback: "Fear the turtle."

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