Insights from a Girl Who Knows Better

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

 

 

Jun. 7, 2016

Muted.  Disrespected.  Lied to.  Misled.  Overworked.  Underpaid.  Powerless. Underutilized.  Just a number. Deflated. Defeated.…

These are the words I hear nurses using to describe themselves and their work experiences.  What is happening to our profession?  Why are we feeling like this?

It’s rough business, Hospital Nursing.  I can only truly speak for ER nursing but I hear grumblings from all areas of the hospital.  ICU nurses being charged “double occurrences” for being more than 10 minutes late to a shift, floor nurses being forced to take 4-5 extra patients…it’s not just ER nurses that are feeling this burden.  Hospital nurses are drowning. All of us. 

What happened to that nurse inside of each of us that wanted nothing more than to change the world, one patient at a time?  I will tell you… we are covered up in politics and metrics and feelings of never being good enough.   We work so hard that sweat runs down our backs. We don’t take breaks.   We make sure that every call light is answered, every chart kept in order, every hourly round completed on time, every pain medicine given and followed up on, every antibiotic started within the allotted metric time, and that every patient will answer “very good” on their God-forsaken survey.  We ensure that every new nurse is greeted with a smile and we keep this little dirty secret we call the truth deep inside of us, knowing that if we give those new nurses a glimpse of it, they will run as fast as they can into nurse practitioner school or even the nearest outpatient clinic or free standing ER.  We know that the minute we really speak our minds that there will be swift retaliation, whether with daily assignments, malicious rumors, or it will be reflected on our yearly evaluation.  It is career sabotage.  We are plagued by paranoia. Nurses are scared to do or say anything that will “rock the boat” because we know…we have seen it happen to those who have come and gone.  Some of us have experienced it ourselves.  Even if we present “solutions” to the problems we identify, we are seen as inflexible employees who aren’t willing to change… “Bad seeds” … “Troublemakers.”  

What has changed in our profession?  Even after 20 years, I don’t have the answer.  I love my patients.  LOVE MY PATIENTS.  They often smell bad, have no manners, feel entitled, and wreak with non-compliance; but I love them.  Most of us do.  We take their abuse because for some reason we feel like we are making a difference in their lives.  Is that why we stay in our jobs?  Are we all hoping that one day we will wake up and everything will be fixed?  Maybe…promises of change wall-paper our departments.  It is interesting to me how those promises change to fit each individual nurse’s interests.  If a nurse is interested in management, a supervisor position is dangled in front of them.  If a department is short staffed and the staff is tired, the number of new hires is painted like a sunset scene in a field full of wild flowers.  No matter the issue, if it is important to you, idle promises will be made just to placate the situation for the time being. 

Is it Magnet? I have written about Magnet before and my thoughts regarding the subject.  (Feel free to thumb back through blog entries to see exactly why I don’t truly support what Magnet has become…I won’t delve into it again here) The short of it is that something that started out as a beautiful idea to help nurses develop into the super nurse hidden inside of them, has turned into an ugly shackle and chain for those of us in the trenches walking the walk of a bedside nurse. 

Is it that people are becoming sicker, and older, and more noncompliant?  I am sure that is part of it.  The truth is, that it is multifaceted.  We must find a way to stand together against the evil in our field.  We must stop this bullying.  We must remind everyone that patients and nurses aren’t just numbers.  Nursing is repeatedly on the top of the list of what are considered the “most respected professions.”  WE ARE IMPORTANT.  WHAT WE DO IS IMPORTANT.  It cannot be duplicated.  It cannot be mass-produced.  Nursing is a science.  Nursing is an art.

What does a person do about feeling unhappy in the field of nursing, when it is absolutely the only thing they want to do? When they KNOW without a doubt that the reason they haven’t ever truly been provided with an “out” is because God put them on the planet to do EXACTLY what it is that they are doing? I guess the answer is that you simply attempt, time and time again, to regain your focus.  Remember why you became a nurse.  Firstly,  dig deep inside of yourself to make sure that happy nurse that is ready to save the world can push through all of the negativity that has become our profession.  Secondly, STOP BEING SILENT.  USE YOUR VOICE. The world needs you.  Healthcare needs you. NURSING NEEDS YOU.  Be a positive light in an ocean of darkness.  You are not alone. Together, we can bring daylight back into this long, cold, night.  

We need to do this, not only for our patients, but also for ourselves.  Because before you know it, we will all be patients in need of a great hospital and a smart, caring, nurse who will advocate for our safety, our health, and our lives.