Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Friday, November 15, 2013

Cheerleaders Only

I have a feeling that on Saturday at 7:30 pm I will feel like somebody shot me out of a cannon...

I am so ready to pursue my life again! It feels like the greatest gift ever, freedom!

But I have to comment on some things that are bugging me. I've allowed myself this time, until I regain my life, to blow off steam and express my anger and frustration as it surfaces. After all, aren't those human emotions? Don't human beings feel those things from time to time, especially when they've been SHIT UPON by other members of the species.

It is not healthy to hold feelings in. It is better to express them honestly. My chosen medium is by writing. I have expressed a few of my emotions out loud but somehow they came back at me via stab wounds in my back. And they were also subject to selective hearing.

I never was a cheerleader, never carried pom-poms. Couldn't do a straight cartwheel to save my life, either. I never was a girly girl either. I never fit the gender police's preferred image of a girl. Or a woman, either, when I grew up. I'm a person. Just like other people are. I believe that most persons are also human beings. At least that's what I assumed until I joined the working world.

I work my very last shift tomorrow, and it looks like I will work with fantastic people, coworkers I adore, patients I will miss. But I will not miss the cheerleaders club.

When I think about my workplace, with the exception of the majority of my coworkers, I imagine they are ready to get rid of me, too. No one in the chain of command above me said even so much as a goodbye this week. There are also a very small number of people (two to be exact) I've worked with in the past who have not bothered to answer my repeated attempts to contact them. People who claim to be caring individuals who work with many patients with serious illness, in both traditional and nontraditional health care roles. Won't even give me the time of day.

People are really afraid because I said what they think, what they wish they had the courage to say. But they are afraid. There is a pervasive atmosphere of fear.

If you disagree with ANYTHING, you have a negative attitude. Cheerleaders ONLY.

Really, I don't know why and probably never will know why the powers that be decided to shut me out of any discussion, planning or pilot programs for the very program for which I had promoted, volunteered my time, and fundraised for 5 years. Because they wouldn't even speak to me to my face. They sent a messenger to tell me they already had enough people. And this was over a year ago, before my attitude took a slide downhill into hell.

And then they avoided me for the remaining time, actual physical avoidance, despite my multiple attempts to let them know about my interest, not to mention my background, skills, and qualifications of which they were already aware from Day One.

I think it is because they only feel comfortable with a very small, select, hand-picked group of people who won't color outside the lines. Because it seems like for every project, the same people are involved. On Day One, I must have scared the shit out of some REALLY insecure person. AGAIN.

I can't help being who I am. But I shouldn't have to suppress it either. And there is a line, and if you cross that line with me, I'm not going to like it. And I'm going to say so.

Today I had lunch with a colleague who is a nurse practitioner. She brought a signed copy of Nursing Against The Odds with her. She had lunch with Suzanne Gordon, the author, at a recent conference. When she brought the book and asked me if I'd read it, I almost started to laugh.

Laughter is probably not the appropriate emotion. It would have been quite sarcastic and I suppressed it. I actually bought the book years ago, when I was a new nurse. I started reading it and it was so depressing that I had to stop reading it because I was new to the profession and it was painful to read. But after seven years of nursing I see that in the time since 2005 when the book was written, not much has changed.

I think it is very interesting what she wrote back then about Magnet, Gordon predicted that Magnet might not survive in an atmosphere of further cost cutting, and she is right. Magnet is weakening, to the point of obsolescence. No one is willing to pay for the things that Magnet requires. But then it seems like Magnet is also willing to look the other way.

Meanwhile in Arizona, Amanda is still fighting the Board of Nursing. Amanda is going through a living hell with those sick @#$%*! at the Arizona BON.

Spies, flies, and lies. Spying on people with social media, tattletales, people who listen in on conversations, people who twist reality so it fits their agenda. Then they try to shame her. Get real people. What business do they have being on the Board of Nursing, in their relentless pursuit of Amanda's license?

This is the reality of nursing folks. Nurses have no protections. If they are lucky enough to have unions, they might have minimal workplace protections, but beyond that, nurses kill one another off. The State Nursing Organizations (ANA disciples) favor management. The Board of Nursing is not there to protect nurses, it claims to be about protecting the public. Workplaces are run by companies with only the bottom line in mind. Nurses are revered only by people who have no idea what kind of slave-like conditions they are subjected to.

Nurses turn against each other by the pressure, lack of control, and hard labor they endure. Bound by their licenses, they try desperately to uphold their commitment to the patients they serve, when the organizations they work for do everything to work against them.

Not to turn the conversation back to me, because Amanda's story stands out in all it's horrifying detail. But her story reminds me, sickly, of the bullshit I experienced when a certain person tried to intimidate me over something I wrote. People with God complexes try to blow smoke and you just want to walk out of the room, because my reaction was, can we have an adult conversation here? If you're so concerned about propriety and behavior standards, then why don't you live up to them yourself?

And then we have this...

This is what mainstream nursing has become. And it is a sad fact that it will go on and continue to get worse until enough nurses are willing to put a stop to it.

I refuse to be a cheerleader. I will not shill for ANYBODY's substandard treatment of human beings in what is supposed to be a caring profession.

Which is why, once I get out of this phase of nursing, I intend to do something meaningful to support nurses who are going through similar hell, in order to help them regain their well-being in a safe atmosphere, where they can heal and move forward with their lives.

But first, I have to heal myself. Another 24 hours or so and I will truly begin...


m rubsam said...

Interesting to read about California's safe staffing laws. Has there ever been a nursing strike?

Alene Gone Bad said...

There have been strikes in the past but people are not willing to do that these days, and it's almost unheard of in many states. Nurses have not been vocal, but I sense that things might start to change. When Gordon wrote her book social media was only in the beginning stages of activity. Now it's exploded and I think there might be hope if people would get beyond their fears. Employers exploit social media by using posts against employees routinely.