Thank you 

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Sometimes healthcare is overwhelming. 

I have been thinking about what the healthcare providers in Las Vegas went through that night. I just hope they know how much they are appreciated.

There are situations that are embedded in our memories and nightmares, patients or families that haunt our dreams. We get up every day and do it again. 

Later, if we are lucky, we get to discuss the situation with coworkers and hopefully find other people who understand how we are affected. 

When someone asks me to make a decision at work, I find myself going down a mental checklist (sometimes I do it out loud) and trying to determine the possible outcomes from my choice. Some think it’s indecision or lack of knowledge. They are wrong, it’s too many memories of bad outcomes from poor decision making I have witnessed in the past. It may be a mistake I have made. Either way, I am just trying to apply my experience. 

What happens in a chaotic situation like a mass shooting? 

I am fortunate, I have never experienced this. I suppose the only real hope we have is to have processes in place for these scenarios. 

A huge number of trauma patients, horrible flu epidemic, ebola… all of the situations are a strain for hospitals. We have to find solutions and we do the best we can. 

I listen to people tell horror stories about their experiences in hospitals and one of my first reactions is to wonder what the providers were experiencing. How many felt overwhelmed and afraid of not measuring up? Did they feel inadequate to rise far above the limits of our training. 

I don’t know if drills help, I suppose knowing where to turn for guidance in an emergency is the first step. We have to work as a team to handle emergencies. 

I hope the healthcare providers who were treating these victims are getting the support they need to process what they saw that night. I hope if they are feeling inadequate someone is reassuring them. I hope processes are being examined and tweaked for future reference. 

Above all, I hope they are recognized for being a team. 

Far too often we forget the team aspect of providing care. People are petty and criticize their team members. They seek to destroy careers or reputations out of their own petty inability to see the whole picture. This happens in lots of professions. Instead of building people up, they tear them down. 

Let’s stop doing that. We need to remember what it is like to care for our coworkers. 

First, let’s thank the providers who answered the call and provided care in a horrific situation. Let’s remember it was horrible for them too. Let’s support them so they can continue to be there in the future. 

I Didn’t Believe You

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Once upon a time, many years ago, an entire generation of teenage girls, or maybe it was just me, belted out inappropriate song lyrics about oral sex in theaters and angry diatribes about how men have done us wrong. We were strong and we could talk about sex, love, and life just like the boys. 

It was all so dramatic.

I was raised to believe I can do anything I want to do. My family indulged my whims and supported me completely. Even when their little girl eschewed all that was feminine. I was allowed to wear short hair and men’s clothing if that’s what made me feel strong. I believed I was no different than the guys. Feminism was outdated and no longer necessary. We had equal rights, thanks to the women who fought for us. Unfortunately, I also equated feminists with man hating, bra burning, no shaving screeching misandrists. 

I mistakenly believed women who complained were overly sensitive and needed to learn to go with the flow. If you wanted to play with the boys you couldn’t get mad when they treated you like one of the guys. They were only kidding. 

Except we never were one of the guys. Our attempts at learning leadership skills were equated with shrew bitchiness. Any effort at assertiveness was offensive. In order to be one of the guys we had to become weak. If we complained, we were difficult and must be dealt with. At work I was often shushed and put in my place by men. My input was ignored in favor of male members of the team. I could do nothing right. 

This attitude is pervasive in the work place. Even in a predominately female profession like nursing men are preferred. Men advance faster and their opinions more respected. 

So, what role should feminism play in my professional development? How can I become a better leader? How do I protect myself and my female colleagues from discrimination and harassment? 

Sometimes I still want to be one of the guys. I want to be included in the jokes and respected for my contributions. 

How do we fix this? 

How do we make these conversations more productive instead of resorting to complaining and man bashing? 

More importantly, why is this still an issue in 2017?