Insights from a Girl Who Knows Better

Sep. 21, 2016

I remember a time when ER medicine was the most amazing career known to man.  Fast-paced problem solving is purely addictive.  It’s an adrenaline rush matched by no other.  I also remember a time when ERs felt like a gigantic team.  Working together to solve a problem in an opinionated, highly charged environment…ahhhhh, the good ol’days. 

Now, ER nurses and physicians feel like baby birds in a nest, their necks stretched out as far as they can go, just waiting on someone to force the food of information down their throats.  There is no more collaboration.  There is no more opportunistic think-tank.   

Management teams are at their wits end trying to solve problems when the easy answer is right there, within their reach.  Here are a few simple ways management can improve a department:

  1. Truly give ownership to the staff.  (Physicians, Nurses, and Techs) That is all it would take.  No more threats of being sent home without pay.  No more threats of being fired because we work in an At-Will Employment State. Employees who are paranoid are less productive and have bad attitudes.
  2. Make them BELIEVE that you BELIEVE in them by trusting their opinions.  Don’t belittle them by poo-pooing their concerns behind their backs.  It always gets back to them.  ALWAYS.
  3. Make them feel valued by listening to them.  Show that you have listened by making change. Nurses, Techs, and Doctors are in the trenches. They know the truth about the issues.  Managing by metrics can only get you so far.
  4. Make them feel like a part of the team by keeping them in-the-know, instead of in the dark.  The most effective management teams I have been a part of have been truly transparent.  It may not be your preferred management approach, but type-A personalities generally need the “Why” attached to changes. If a rule doesn’t make sense, it will not be welcomed with open arms.
  5. Avoid the terminology EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY.  This is a dictatorial approach to change that is rarely perceived in a positive light.
  6. Do everything in your power to make it feel like a light-hearted place to work.  Laugh, be honorable, allow friendships to build.  When people feel loyalty to each other, they will always go the extra mile.
  7. Stop managing one by managing all.  Seriously.  Remediate those who fall short and leave everyone else alone.
  8. Build an environment of trust. Keep your word.  It’s that easy.

The problems in ER Medicine aren’t just problems with the mismanagement of its employees. It is time that staff members begin to hold themselves accountable for what they are contributing to the disease that is overtaking our field.  We, as staff members, need to understand that we are often times part of the problem. Here are a few things that bedside staff members can do to improve our departments.

  1. Bring a positive attitude with you to work.  Sometimes in life we have to “fake it ‘til we make it.” If you are having a rough time, don’t poison the rest of your team.  Chances are that if you simply focus on the good, by the end of the shift you will be smiling, too.
  2. Choose your battles.  Don’t buck every change that comes your way.  Doing this only makes management perceive you to be negative and unwilling to change.
  3. Do your best, every single day. A systematic approach to the care that you give will make this task an easy one. 
  4. Stay the course.  Don’t be an employee who lives with “one foot out the door.” Be dedicated.  Commit to stay to endure the ebbs and flows that your department will undoubtedly experience.
  5. Get involved. While often times it can feel that you aren’t being heard by management, sometimes it’s just a battle of wills.  Don’t be afraid of retaliation.  If you are handling yourself in a professional manner, things will go your way. 
  6.  Focus on your patients. They are the real reason you are there.  You love helping people in crisis.  If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be in the field of ER medicine. 
  7. Be the kind of team member that you would choose to work with.
  8. Don’t tear people down, build them up.  It doesn’t matter if you have been in this field for 2 months or 20 years, we all still have things to learn.  Embrace each other.  Acknowledge the special gifts that we all bring to the team.

I cannot imagine my life without ER medicine.  It is because of this, that I am committed to making it better.  Leaving isn’t an option for me.  I hope that you feel the same.  I look forward to walking this path with each and every one of you. Together, the future of ER medicine doesn’t have to seem bleak.  Together, we can heal the world. 

 

 

 

 

 

Sep. 21, 2016

“When you tear out a man's tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you're only telling the world that you fear what he might say.”

George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings

It has been almost 2 years since the bullying and terrorizing began against me. Well, it has probably been going on for longer than that but my blog finally opened the door.  It finally provided an outlet in which the snake could strike.  (Lord knows I do not open the door for that in my professional life. I follow all rules.)  I have been writing for years.  It is one of the only things I do that I feel comes from my soul.  I do it for me.  I do it for you.  I generally only write about things that I am passionate about.  Nursing is one of those things.  I am not unethical in my writing.  I do not violate any laws.  I don’t even “step right up to the line”.  I write about things that all people should care about. 

Civil rights, injustices, poor management…these are things very near and dear to my heart.  I would write more often, but I have been censored.  I want to speak out, but I am punished for doing so. (Not to my face, but instead in covert operations to sabotage my career.)  There are no words to describe it other than retaliation, bullying, and abuse of power.

So today, I leave you all with the first amendment to the constitution and a poem regarding censorship.   By not writing, I might as well be burning books. Shame on me.  And to those who are censoring me…shame on you.  How very un-American.

The FIRST amendment as adopted in 1791 reads as follows:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. [1]

 

"Burning a Book," by William Stafford

 

Protecting each other, right in the center

a few pages glow a long time.

The cover goes first, then outer leaves

curling away, then spine and a scattering.

Truth, brittle and faint, burns easily,

its fire as hot as the fire lies make---

flame doesn't care. You can usually find

a few charred words in the ashes.

 

And some books ought to burn, trying

for character

but just faking it. More disturbing

than book ashes are whole libraries that

no one

got around to writing----desolate

towns, miles of unthought in cities,

and the terrorized countryside where

wild dogs

own anything that moves. If a book

isn't written, no one needs to burn it----

ignorance can dance in the absence of fire.

 

So I've burned books. And there are many

I haven't even written, and nobody has.

Aug. 21, 2016

Dear Kindergarten Teacher:

Tomorrow his world is changing.  Tomorrow my world is changing.  Today, in his eyes, I am the most magical person on the planet.  I have shown him the moon and the stars.  I have taught him songs to sing when he misses me.  I have captured snakes to share with him.  I have taught him how to plant a garden.  I read books to him in funny voices and then he makes me read them to him again using my “real mommy voice.”  I have taught him how to cook.  (not on a plastic stove with plastic vegetables, on MY STOVE using real knives and real food.) He writes songs and poems and I video every single one of them so that we can play them over and over, reveling together in his awesomeness.  I hold him and hug him any time he feels like he needs to be close to me.  I fix all of his problems and kiss all of his ouchies.  He makes me laugh and he giggles at me all of the time.

He is an interesting little kid. He thinks big but is content at home.  He likes to run but loves to snuggle.  He knows all of the words to all of the songs on the radio.  (He says that Taylor Swift’s music makes his ears bleed.) He says his best friend is his daddy and loves his sissy with his whole heart.   He asks questions that he wants real answers to and is never content with answers when he knows they aren’t true.  He pushes all boundaries.  He is loud and full of energy.  He will make you want to kill him.  He will make you question if he’s had any actual adult guidance whatsoever.  (I assure you he has) Some days you will question whether or not he’s only five.  Some days you will question if he is still three.  When he gets nervous, he kind of acts like a jerk. You should know that most of the time, when he’s acting out, he really just needs a hug.  In life thus far, he has a tendency to be more like a salmon swimming against the current and less like little lamb following the flock. 

I hope that you embrace him.  I hope that you can see the sweetness in those big brown eyes and his captivating smile.  I hope that you can continue the fine balancing act I have been performing between shaping his spirit and not breaking it.  You see, tomorrow and for five days a week for the next 9 months, you will be spending more time with him than me.  You will ever so quietly slip into the “top spot” in his life.  He will find you to be beautiful and amazing.  He will slip and call me by your name when he’s at home.  You will teach him how to read and to do math, things that I am not capable of teaching him, but things that will shape his future and give him the tools he needs to be successful in life.  For this, I thank you.

Tomorrow his world is changing.  Tomorrow my world is changing. In the blink of an eye, my baby will grow into a young man.  Tomorrow he will begin this journey with you, but to me, he will always be my little boy.

 

Sincerely,

His Mommy

Aug. 21, 2016
Jul. 10, 2016

On Thursday, a horrible thing happened in Dallas.  Human beings were hunted down for sport by a man who decided that no lives matter.  Five men were killed.  Five innocent men who had dedicated their lives to protecting and serving strangers.  Five men who weren’t proven to be racist.  Five men who had not shot unarmed black men or unarmed men of any kind.  I heard him.  I heard that man that I refuse to name because I will not extend notoriety to him for his evil acts.  I heard what he said: NO LIVES MATTER. 

In response to this, I posted on Facebook that ALL LIVES MATTER.  I had no idea that by exclaiming that ALL LIVES MATTER, I was speaking out that I was actually claiming to be against the unification of races in our country. A childhood friend of mine is the person that actually brought it to my attention to be a negative slogan. I thought it was an all-inclusive term to join ALL mankind...

I have decided that the founders of BLM should have called it BLMT. (Black lives matter, too) Then there would have never been a need to prove anything EXCEPT that BLMT. We could have been moving forward instead of stuck in the quicksand of semantics.

What I would like to say is that I believe you.  If you are a black man or woman who claims to have felt the effect of racist stereotypes, I believe you.  I want others to believe you, too.  What I would also like to say is that as long as we are sitting behind our keyboards trying to prove who is right and who is wrong, anger is building and division is strengthening.  Human life is precious no matter what race or creed is attached to it. 

People who jump on the bandwagon of guilty vs non-guilty before all of the facts come out are not seeking justice, they are seeking revenge.  They are seeking to PROVE that every case of the police shooting a man of color is NOT justified or IS justified.  I challenge each of you to hold back and wait…wait for the whole story to come out.  Don’t be Nancy Grace.  Don’t stir the pot.  Wait.  Be patient. 

in order for this country to change, it can no longer be about who is right and who is wrong.  White people need to realize that there truly is a division.  Stop being blind to it.  But what we all need is to end the anger and frustration.  How can we move forward if we do not? 

In a blog I read earlier this morning, I found what I feel to be a better analogy than Bob having dinner with a bunch of people who won’t share their food with him.  I feel that analogy to be angry and accusatory, insinuating that people of color have no way out except to wait for someone to offer them something that they don’t have.  I have many friends of color and friends that came from harsh environments that have broken through this thought process that someone has to GIVE you what you don’t have.  They have taken down their own walls, not waited for others to do it for them.  They have EMPOWERED themselves.  They are also quite aware that a problem still exists.  I, too, am aware. I also know that no matter how hard I try to understand, I am always greeted with a road block of “You will never understand.  You are white.”  If white people will never understand, then what’s the point?  We need to stop trying to prove who is right and who is wrong.  We need to stop and we need to move forward.   That is why I like this analogy better: 

“Not many people care about Endometriosis, but I sure do. It's ruined half of my life, if not more. Cancer is more common and affects more people, so more people care about Cancer. Cancer is like the white people of our society and Endometriosis is the black people. Cancer gets more attention, money, protection, and hype. Endometriosis is only now gaining awareness in the year 2016. I do not believe having Endometriosis makes me not care about Cancer, or anyone fighting against it. However, I sure do wish I did not have to explain what Endometriosis is, or what it's like to have it, to most people I have encountered in my life. If I meet someone who does not have Endometriosis, or love someone who has it, they stare at me, and dismiss the struggles I have endured because of it. ANYONE who mentions the word Cancer is met with unending sympathy and understanding. This is the same difference with the Black Lives Matter movement versus the All Lives Matter retort. All diseases matter, but Cancer has endless support and awareness as opposed to Endometriosis. I hope this helps some of you who are struggling to fully comprehend what is going on: Silent, dismissed, genuine, suffering.” (LivingImprov.blogspot.com)

This is what I believe to be true: Violence is never the answer.  No one should be killed for sport.  No one should be killed because of the color of their skin.  When statistics are taken out of context, they just fuel the fire.  When you waste your time trying to prove that you are right and someone else is wrong, you perpetuate hate and anger.  When you don’t extend love and understanding to all mankind, you are missing the point of love.  Yes, when you see a police officer or fire fighter, you should thank them for the work that they do.  But I would extend that even further, when you greet a stranger, tell them that you love them with love in your heart and that you refuse to remain stagnant in this cesspool of hate and anger that our country is drowning in.   Embrace the differences.  Seek understanding.  Why? Because LOVE MATTERS.  #LoveMatters #LoveLikeJesus