Carver and White Nurses

Conversation at my kitchen table the other day with Carver went a little bit like this…


C: Telli (Kelli) ‘cha doing?
K: I’m doing some work on my computer so I can go to college again.
C: Telli, why you want to do college?
K:  I want to be a white nurse and work at the college.
C: You no want to be a teal nurse anymore?
K: No I want to be a white nurse and teach at the college.
C: My mommy a white nurse and a black nurse.

I’m sure you’re all wondering what a white, black, and teal nurse means.  Let me tell you.  Ever since he was born, Carver has seen him mom, Kalissa, go to work and seen Kelli go to work.

Kalissa has black nurse scrubs for when she works at the ER.  She has white nurse scrubs for when she’s teaching nursing students on the floor of the hospital.


Kelli has caribbean blue scrubs when she’s working as a nurse on the med/surg floor.  We tell Carver the color is teal….so we don’t get them mixed up with blue nurses.

Carver uses the color system of black, white and teal scrubs to understand what Mommy and Auntie Kelli are doing at work on that specific day.

If Mommy is wearing black scrubs she is working in the ER and she’s checking ears and helping people who need help fast.

If Mommy is wearing white scrubs she is helping new nurses learn how to be a better nurse.

If Kelli is wearing teal scrubs she is at the hospital and she is helping people take their medicine, go potty and talk with the doctor.

There are blue nurses too…Blue nurses are nurses Carver doesn’t like at all.  Blue nurses work in same day services.  Carver has unfortunately been a patient with the blue nurses far to many times.  Blue nurses have seen Carver for a three sets of tubes in his ears and to get stitches in his tongue.  Carver associates the “gas mask” with them.  He hates being put out.  So often at our house we say things like, “Carver, don’t do that or you will fall and get hurt and have to go see the blue nurses”.  Just like that he straightens up.  He really doesn’t like blue nurses at all.

This has been so helpful for the times when it’s hard for Carver to see Mommy go to work.  Kalissa will say to him, “Carver I have to go be the black nurse.  Remember there will be people who need their ears checked and people who need help fast.  I have to go help them.”

This gives little three year Carver something he can understand.  This color coded nurse thing has been going on for a year already.

More things have been added.  Now if they are working overnight, then they “go be the night owl teal nurse”.  That means they are working in the night and will be sleeping in the day….that’s the “night owl” part.

Every once in a while odd things happen like Kelli had to go cover in ER for a little bit and Carver will ask, “Did you have to put on black clothes?”  or Kelli came one day with black scrubs and Carver said, “Kelli you not black nurse?”  It turns out that Kelli was working at the nursing home that day and there they can wear any colored scrubs and she happened to be wearing black scrubs so that had to be added.

On Monday of this week Buck called me to say, “First let me tell you I’m okay.”  That isn’t the first time he’s told me this…it’s always before he tells me he somehow got hurt.  So this was his story…He was at work.  He was framing a house.  He was carrying something that was 75 pounds-ish.  He slipped on ice, fell and the thing he was carrying fell on his finger.  It’s his right pointer finger.  It took all of the skin off his finger from his first to his second knuckle.  (I’ll keep the icky picture of it to myself)  He went to Urgent Care and then was sent to ER.  At the time he didn’t have a lot of feeling in it and the Urgent Care doc said it might require surgery.

So I got off the phone and told Carver…
Uncle Buck hurt his finger.  He went to see a teal nurse.  Buck’s owie was so bad she couldn’t fix it so she sent him to the black nurse.  They don’t know if it’s broken bad.  If it is broken bad they might have to send him to the blue nurse.  Little three year Carver looked at me and said, “Okay”.  I was totally speaking his language.  HA!!

As for Buck’s finger.  It’s broken in the knuckle.  He met with the ortho person Tuesday….not good news.  He is had surgery yesterday to clean it out.  He’ll have a “block” for pain and then they’ll go in and “fillet” it open.  (Those were the doctor’s words) Then they will clean it out and stitch him up.  He expected to have 20 stitches on the outside…more on the inside.  ICK.  So Uncle Buck will have to see the blue nurses.  Even Carver knows that’s not good.

Buck sent me this picture.


He’ll be like this for two weeks.  UGH.  Prayers out to Lora for having to put up with him.  He gets stir crazy like his dad and he’ll be hard to live with if he can’t work.  Hopefully there will be something for him to do after that….

The “colored” nurse thing has happened with Carver for so long and has been such a good way for Carver to understand.  I think this white nurse/black nurse/blue nurse/teal nurse description will be something that sticks in our family.  Years from now Carver will likely be telling his kids, “Don’t do that or I’ll have to take you to go see the blue nurses!”…just like we tell him now.

14 thoughts on “Carver and White Nurses

  1. Carolyn Sullivan

    LOL that is funny. When I was nursing one of the reasons they ‘switched’ to different colors (was told) was to alleviate anxiety. Apparently people get anxious when the people in white come in the room……. that was a LONG time ago though

  2. Kim LeMere

    I’m sorry Buck got injured and had to see all those colored nurses, lol. You are so creative in helping Carver understand where everyone is going that day.

  3. Mary Ann Mettler

    Very creative with the color uniforms hope they never change colors on you – lol. Love Carver’s conversation with his auntie. Sorry to hear about Buck – that has got to hurt! Hope for a quick recovery – somehow your whole body hurts when one part hurts.

  4. Donna

    I love the color coding of nurses uniforms. I had no idea!
    Praying for a full recovery for Buck.
    Love and prayers

  5. Katherine Gourley

    That is so cute. When I worked as an oncology nurse our color was purple. If we were floated to another unit we needed to check in to verify we were supposed to be there. I had everything in some shade of purple. We did not wear scrubs — we wore lab coats with purple or white pants. My favorite lab coat had happy little purple cows.

  6. Janet R

    Ouch! Poor Buck! I hope everything goes well and he heals quickly.

    I like the nurse categories for Carver. It’s always good to put things in categories kids can understand. I hope he doesn’t become afraid of the blue nurses, though. They are necessary.

  7. Judith Fairchild

    Such a great way to explain where momma and aunty are going to be. Praying for Buck that has to be very painful. So sorry it happened

  8. Susan the Farm Quilter

    Love the color-coded nursing jobs!! How nice to just remind Carver of the blue nurses and he stops what he is doing…great way to keep his as safe as possible!! Poor Buck…injuring your finger, especially your right index finger…he’ll get “drumpty”…I hope Lora can come up with things for him to do for her that only require his left hand to keep the “drumpty” at bay.

  9. Beth T.

    When my mom was working for the Red Cross, doing blood drives and autologous blood donations, everything she wore had to be either white or navy blue. After she died, I kept lots of her clothes that were my size–some for sentimental reasons and others for practical reasons, because they were in good condition and I didn’t see any reason to get rid of them. (Which sounds like something my mom would have said.) Even now, twenty years later, I’ll sometimes put on a navy blue t-shirt or pair of socks and think, “Oh, this must have been Mom’s–Red Cross colors.”

  10. Candi

    I love it when hospitals color code different areas or special floors. And how smart to teach Carver the color coding in terms he understands. I’m sure that will stick with him.

    Love, hugs and prayers coming your way.

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