Nurse of the Week: After Mary Walls-Penney was Shamed for Her Rainbow Hair, She Responds with Facebook Post of Love for Nursing and Her Patients

Nurse of the Week: After Mary Walls-Penney was Shamed for Her Rainbow Hair, She Responds with Facebook Post of Love for Nursing and Her Patients

Mary Walls-Penney is a geriatric nurse. Most of her patients suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, but even when they don’t recognize her they’re always happy to see her. Walls-Penney knows she works hard as a nurse, always trying to make her patients smile and be a comfort to them. After a cashier at the grocery store questioned whether Walls-Penney was fit to be a nurse because of her rainbow colored hair, tattoos, and piercings, she was shocked.

Walls-Penney was surprised by the accusations of her cashier that she wasn’t fit to be a nurse, but she handled the uncomfortable situation with grace and love. Smiling while telling the cashier that most of her patients love her hair and don’t mind it, she was kind to the cashier even through her embarrassment.

After her attempt to be friendly in the grocery store, Walls-Penney’s embarrassment quickly turned to frustration on her way home. She decided to pull her car to the side of the road and write a Facebook post which has since received many kind and supportive comments. In a passionate tribute to her work as a geriatric nurse, Walls-Penney defended herself with the following:

“I can’t recall a time that my hair color has prevented me from providing life saving treatment to one of my patients. My tattoos have never kept them from holding my hand as they lay frightened and crying because Alzheimer’s has stolen their mind. My multiple ear piercings have never interfered with me hearing them reminisce about their better days or listening to them as they express their last wishes. My tongue piercing has never kept me from speaking words of encouragement to a newly diagnosed patient or from comforting a family that is grieving.”

The more she thought about it, the more aggravated she became, but Walls-Penney still hoped to spread one simple and age-old message through her Facebook post: Don’t judge a book by its cover. Walls-Penney considers her patients to be a second family which led her to beg the question of how her appearance paired with her “cheerful disposition, servant’s heart, and smiling face” has made her unfit to do her job in providing nursing care. Geriatric nursing is not an easy field so her hair brings her joy, and according to Walls-Penney, “It’s hard to be sad and upset when you have rainbow hair.”

We applaud Mary Walls-Penney, our Nurse of the Week, for her hard work and the light and cheerfulness she brings to her patients.