In "Meet the Parents", nurse Gaylord Focker sets a roof on fire, spray paints the tail of a cat, is detained by airport security and gets entangled in a web of lies. But he would still be a great nurse. Here are five reasons why.
- He goes out of his way to please others. In the movie, Gaylord is about to propose to his girlfriend Pam Byrnes and meets her parents for the first time. Gaylord spends most of the weekend trying to impress Pam's father, former CIA interrogator Jack, by playing the part of the perfect future son-in-law. Gaylord's willingness to bend over backwards for Jack might appear to be a sign of weakness, but his search for approval is also a sign of strength because it demonstrates his commitment to making others happy. Since taking care of others is a core responsibility of nursing, Gaylord would make a great nurse.
- He is dedicated to his profession. True passion is the secret to success in any profession. Gaylord, who passed the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and considered becoming a doctor, explains why he chose nursing upon meeting Pam's sister and her fiance. He wanted to avoid the bureaucracy and paperwork that doctors deal with and focus on patient care. In this scene, "Meet the Parents" makes an effort to emphasize the advantages of nursing, making Gaylord Focker one of the most likable fictional nurses, despite his flaws.
- He is intelligent. Gaylord's score on the MCAT shows his intelligence and understanding of medicine. He received a very high score on this difficult and comprehensive test.
- He confronts authority. Gaylord may spend most of the weekend afraid to speak up to the Byrnes', but, as in any well-written movie, his character ultimately grows. At the end of the movie, after a fight with Pam and Jack, Gaylord tries to leave, but is detained at the airport. Despite Gaylord's vulnerable situation, and despite the fact that Jack may have the power to get Gaylord released, Gaylord finally confronts Jack regarding his inability to stay out of his daughter's relationship. Similarly, nurses may need to speak up against a supervisor or other authority figure if they see that a medical error, that could potentially endanger a patient, is about to happen.
- He stays calm in high-pressure situations. There are a couple of scenes towards the end of the movie where Gaylord loses his cool. This is, of course, after Gaylord has struggled to keep the pressure from boiling over through the whole weekend, suffering insults from Jack and others in the family. In one scene, Gaylord gets up from the dinner table and takes a time out in the kitchen, muttering to himself instead of lashing out at Jack. His ability to control his temper would be very useful in the highly demanding and stressful healthcare environment.
There is no doubt that Gaylord's first weekend with his future in-laws turns out disastrous and that he makes many mistakes. But if you have ever been in love, you can relate to his eagerness to impress the family and resultant anxiety if things don't go well. Despite Gaylord's mishaps, he would be a great nurse — as long as Jack doesn't visit him at work.
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