Walking into the staff lounge, I find Kris, Liz, and Kathy laughing and talking excitedly.
“Here she is,” says Liz. “I bet Niki will come with us.”
I head towards the phone to clock in and ask, “Go where?”
Kris holds up a magazine. “Call Lights Magazine is looking for real nurse models for an article on different types of scrubs. It’s an open call on Tuesday. The three of us are going. Wanna carpool with us?”
“What’s Call Lights Magazine?”
“It’s a new lifestyle magazine for nurses,” explains Liz. They print stuff like healthy recipes for packed lunches, tips on keeping your make up fresh during a twelve-hour shift, and articles about relationships. It’s pretty cool.”
“I read it, but I’m not sure why nurses need a magazine like this. There’s not much clinical information in it.” This from Kathy.
“There are over three million nurses in the United States, Kathy,” interjects Kris. Magazines like Call Lights give advertisers access to an otherwise untapped market. It’s pretty smart.” Kris is worldly wise, no doubt.
“Oh yeah, I’ve read that magazine. They’re looking for real nurse models? That sounds like fun. Yeah, I’ll go,” I say.
“Awesome! We’ll meet in the hospital parking lot on Tuesday at seven. We’ll stop for coffee. Liz will drive.
“This will be a blast, even if I’m not chosen as a model,” I muse.
“You never know. You can’t win unless you play,” adds Kris.
On Tuesday, Kris, Liz, Kathy and I pile into Liz’s car, and head over to a coffee shop close by the hospital. As the four of us enter the shop, we stop just short of bumping into a police officer making his way out.
“Excuse me,” says the officer, and then, “Hey, Nurse Niki!”
It’s Officer Mike, the cop who accompanied the child abuse patient a while ago.
“Officer Mike, hi! Finishing a coffee break?”
“Yeah, and now it’s back to work. Good to see you again, Nurse Niki.”
“And you, Officer Mike. Bye.”
“Didn’t we meet him in the PICU, Niki? asks Liz.
“Yeah, he brought in that kid with the lacerated liver, remember? He gave me his business card.”
“So did you go out with him? Kris asks.
“No, I’m not ready to start dating. It’s too soon after my divorce.”
Liz gives me a funny look, but doesn’t say anything.
With lattes in tow, we get back into the car and arrive at the address where screening the potential nurse models will take place. In reality, it’s a tiny, vacant storefront, with sheets in the window concealing a heavyset woman wearing hipster glasses, and designer jewelry. She’s seated at a folding table next to a fortyish looking man, also wearing hipster glasses. We don’t know this right away, however, because when we arrive we take our place in line on the sidewalk behind approximately 100 other nurses also wanting to be models.
The line moves slowly. Latecomers collect behind us. My feet are starting to hurt. Why is it I can run continually for a twelve-hour shift without my legs bothering me, but standing still in line is killer?
After a couple of hours, Kris, Liz, Kathy, and I are at the head of the line, where we’re handed clipboards bearing several forms to fill out.
“Wow, you have quite a turnout,” I remark to the woman in hipster glasses.
“Yes, we certainly do,” she agrees. “We used to do our nurse model calls by email, you know, asking for a jpeg photo, and information about the applicant, but we were getting applications from would-be actors, and models pretending to be nurses for the exposure. So now you have to present your nursing license or employee badge in person, and sign this declaration stating you are in fact a nurse before we accept your application. After that, we’ll take a photo of you, and attach it to your application. You’ll be contacted in a few weeks after we’ve made our decision.”
“How many nurses will you choose? asks Kris.
“Six for this particular shoot,” says the woman, “but we’ll keep everyone’s information; you may be contacted for future issues.”
After completing the forms we hand them to the guy wearing hipster glasses. He leads us further back into the storefront, where a camera is set up and a floor light next to it. He directs us to sit, one at a time, on a stool in front of the camera, and takes a full-face picture. Then he has each of us stand, and takes a full body shot too.
“Okay, ladies, that’s it for today,” he announces. Thank you very much for participating in a Call Lights Magazine event. You’ll be hearing from us soon.”
Several weeks later, we did in fact, and I was chosen as a Call Lights Magazine real nurse model!