having caught a URTI and laryngitis, i had a break (3 days!) from work to recover, which to me is a delight. simply because as a chronically ill patient, i don’t get sick leave from being ‘sick’. after which, i had 2 days of training.
and today i returned to work in the ward. it really tested me.
i cannot count the number of times i had to stop my eyes from welling up with tears. tears that were going to shout and berate at myself for letting my head get to me once and again. tears that were going to shred me into pieces just because something unpleasant happened and i was going to catastrophize the whole event into a disaster.
it was hard to keep the tears back, because honestly, and very humanly, it is much easier to just cry there and then. however it would have been terribly unprofessional. i could cry at home, yes. but whatever it was, in that state of mind, i knew i could not let my colleagues see my vulnerability.
i was treated somewhat like a dispensable ‘thing’ at the start of my shift today. there was no respect given and that was something i cannot tolerate. in fact, i was caught in between a tussle of who did NOT want to take me (i am still on probation and thus i need to be supervised). i had no say in it. later on, i was, how do you call it, scolded? scolded in a very inappropriate way by the nurse in-charge. i’m fine with scoldings if i’m wrong. but don’t push it.
in nursing, as a nurse and as a patient, respect is of utmost value to me. there are 2 things to respect.
1. Respect that i give to you and everyone (a.k.a. basic respect)
2. Respect that you have to earn yourself, regardless of whatever status you have
it’s easy. when i nurse my patients, it’s usually just Rule #1. there is no need for Rule #2.
but when i nurse my patients, and i also have to interact and handle my nursing colleagues, Rule #1 and #2 come into play. everyone gets #1. and initially, appropriately, for my managers, i have to give them their due respect until i know them better.
people talk so much about status- who ranks higher, who has higher qualifications, who has longer experience. i used to always aim to be a Nurse Clinician. but today i only had this insight, after all that has happened. i don’t care anymore. i don’t care that those nurses who were arguing about me and had the ‘privilege’ to reject me were more senior than me.
the respect i give to you, as per Rule #2, comes when i see you with a patient. how you talk to a patient, how you care for the patient. your touch. and most importantly, what you tell all of us nurses behind the patient’s back when you pass us the patient’s report. did you pass the test, even on any one that i mentioned? i am both a nurse and a patient. i can tell easily who gets respect from #2, and who doesn’t.
maybe one could argue that it is not fair for me to judge my colleagues like i’m a patient and on the receiving end. but think of it. it’s a caring trade. i don’t want to give you respect because you take good selfies, or if you cook good food, or if you are thin. if i’m in my uniform, i’m a nurse, and the same goes for my colleagues.
be the nurse whom you want to be treated by. right?
so after today, after much distress and the insurmountable urge to cry, i am telling myself…
yes, at work, i will be treated with little respect, none even. i won’t get angry, because i will tell myself that if that person behaves that way, either they are having a stinking day, or my Rule #2 doesn’t apply to them (if it can be observed). but i believe in reciprocal respect. Rule #1 will always apply, and i trust myself to never break that rule.
and at the end of the day, i shall not be angry with the nurse in-charge, because i cannot give her much of respect from Rule #2. to be angry with her, is to be silly. just think of it like… if i’m the patient, i’ll just write a complaint about her! or i’ll ask another nurse to attend to me! simple.
it has been a difficult day. and more is to come, i understand. i just have to trust in my Lord, and listen to my sound mind, at least till i get home (for the latter).