received a provocative link from a colleague.
The words in blue or underlined are hyperlinks, click on them and you will enjoy what you find. Also, please send this to ten other nurses, share as widely as you can!
Executive summary: This week we were treated to a display of bullying.
Bullying is the use of force or coercion to abuse or intimidate others. The behavior can be habitual and involve an imbalance of social or physical power. It can include verbal harassment or threat, physical assault or coercion and may be directed repeatedly towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability. The victim of bullying is sometimes referred to as a “target”.
Every nurse has experienced bullying in one form or another. All you need to do is Google the term Nurse Bullying, and you will see that this has been a hot topic in 2012. It’s a hallmark of dysfunctional workplace culture, and I have written about it here.
Bullying and Big Bird
something that has totally shocked Wednesday was the casual reference made by Mitt Romney about firing Big Bird. He made a joke out of it, but nurses should make no mistake: there is an agenda here at work. If you don’t believe me, watch this YouTube. In it, there is a guy who says that Elmo and Sesame Street are promoting a “gay agenda.” ( this is astounding to me!). The guys in the YouTube video are against everything we teach to promote healthy growth and development among children. Contrast the twit who wrote that book with Mister Rogers when he testified in front of congress.
What Romney, in his adorably out-of-touch way, failed to grasp with that statement is that practically every American under the age of 50 has a powerful childhood association with that goofy oversize lug. An entire generation can trace its first understanding of death to the moment that Big Bird let it sink in that “Mr. Hooper’s not coming back.” And another generation learned about loss and community and resilience after 9/11 when “Sesame Street” had Big Bird’s own nest destroyed in a storm. (The show aired Big Bird’s odyssey again after Katrina.) And I defy even a robotic millionaire to get through Big Bird’s choked-up rendition of “It’s Not Easy Being Green” at Jim Henson’s memorial service and not completely lose it when he says, “Thank you, Kermit.” […]
[D]espite coming out of the evening looking stronger than he has in weeks — Romney made the error of looking like a man who is not on the side of innocence, whimsy, learning or childhood. Nor did he seem to grasp that Big Bird is an integral part of a show that was created for and remains at its core about community and diversity, one that has for decades been an essential tool in helping low-income children prepare for school. Going after Big Bird is like putting down baseball and rainbows and YouTube videos of otter pups. You just don’t.
In 2011 I was in Nepal, so I missed the shooting star of a book titled “Primetime Propaganda” (as an aside, it’s currently ranked a lot lower than my book; and also, you can buy used copies on Amazon for 81 cents). The real reason Romney wants to defund PBS and Sesame Street has nothing to do with funding; it has everything to do with a backlash against teaching such things as tolerance, anti-bullying, respect, and dignity.
When my kids were little, we lived on an old run-down farm with eighty acres of land in rural Maine, down a gravel (i.e., unpaved) road. There were no other pre-school aged children within a mile. The only way they could play with other kids was to be driven somewhere else. Maine Public Broadcasting had Mister Rogers and Sesame Street on in the afternoons, right around the time we made dinner every day. My wife and I grew up near Boston, in a diverse environment, going to public schools that were multiracial and playing on multiracial sports teams, and I wanted to make sure my kids kept the same outlook. Sesame Street was one vehicle to promote that. Word is, cutting the PBS funding from Congress mainly will affect TV stations in rural areas.
Re-elect President Obama.
There are stories that Mitt Romney has been a bully all his life. He does not have a clue what it is like to be the victim of bullying. Romney does not know that the President is supposed to stand up for all Americans, not just the 1%. We need a grown up in the White House who knows what daily life is like for many of our citizens. That’s one more reason nurses need to vote for Obama.
and a suggestion:
If Mr. Obama wins re-election, I think that the Inauguration should include a guest appearance by Kermit the Frog. Singing his big break-out hit song. (from 1969???)
Greetings, Kermit the Frog here And today I’d like to tell you a little bit about the color green Do you know what’s green Well I am for one thing You see frogs are green, and I’m a frog And that means that I’m green, you see
It’s not that easy being green Having to spend each day the color of the leaves When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow, or gold Or something much more colorful like that
It’s not easy being green It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things And people tend to pass you over ‘Cause you’re not standing out Like flashy sparkles in the water Or stars in the sky
But green’s the color of spring And green can be cool and friendly-like And green can be big like a mountain Or important like a river Or tall like a tree
When green is all there is to be It could make you wonder why But why wonder why wonder I am green, and it’ll do fine It’s beautiful, and I think it’s what I want to be
This is the message I want every kid in America, to hear.
For more background, go to this excellent blog.
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Imagine Health care with no nurses???
A few years back I was attending a national meeting of the American Nurses Association, which is the most successful advocacy group for health care in the history of the Republic. And the president of ANA started her talk with “Imagine if there were no nurses when you got health care.” It was a moving speech, serving to remind everyone there of the value of what they do. It was a call to action.
Wherever you are, your main job as a nurse is to humanize the medical process for those persons involved in it. People are not simply biological organisms undergoing a scientific process as if they were laboratory rats. A person dealing with a health crisis can have fear, anxiety, anger, confusion, despair and other emotions. Nurses offer hope, teaching, reassurance, and compassion.
One of the hardest things for a nurse to address is anger. Anger, patience and forgiveness are three concepts that are intertwined in Buddhist practice. This makes me contemplate the idea that I could make this into an ongoing thread – maybe I will.
For now, though, I want to share a parable about anger, that I read on the internet – behold:
Once upon a time there was a little boy with a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he should hammer a nail in the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. But gradually, the number of daily nails dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.
Finally the first day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He proudly told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.
“You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out, it won’t matter how many times you say ‘I’m sorry’, the wound is still there.”
If you as a nurse are around angry people all the time, there is a point where you need to do some self-care, just as the fence in the parable needed repair. Anger can fester, and longterm exposure is injurious to the human spirit just as surely as if it were a deadly carcinogen.
What is your exposure to this toxic poison? We can all contemplate this phenomenon, and meditate on the hope that wisdom may come, even after a while, to those who can not control their anger.