I have some regrets as I’m sure we all do. But there’s one I want to share with you today.
One day in a group meeting called IDT (interdisciplinary team meeting) when I was working in the hospice field as a nurse, I had a very blunt, mean, unprofessional director of nursing. When it was my co-worker’s turn to speak during the meeting, he didn’t know some answers about his patient and was ridiculed in front of everyone. This director berated him over and over. She wasn’t joking around. She was demeaning and scolding him. This nurse was so nice and did a fine job. None of his patients complained about him. He was doing the best he could. He didn’t become defensive. He just hung his head and clearly wanted it to be over. Despite my anguish and dismay I didn’t know what to do.
So I just sat there.
So did everyone else. The atmosphere was so somber. I’m sure everyone was feeling badly for him. I’m also certain everyone felt he was being treated unfairly. Not long after, he quit the job. After that, I heard that he was suffering from depression. I left not long after he did because the the boss just targeted the abuse to one person then another until finally there was no one left. It was a complete turnover including that director who was eventually fired.
I wish I would have stood up, taken his hand and said “you don’t have to stand for this” and walked out with him. I wish I was braver and stronger and had the courage to do that.
I remember thinking at the time, “Someone should say something” but no one did. I realized too late, for that situation, that the someone could have been me.
Since then I’ve had many encounters in the healthcare field where I have stood up for what I believed to be the right thing. With maturity and confidence it’s become easier to do. Still, it can be tricky to be diplomatic yet make a clear stand. I have come to understand that not all battles are worth fighting and the ones that are worth fighting for may not always be won.
I’ve tried to make a difference in my years of nursing and get frustrated when other nurses haven’t spoken up. But I get it. We need jobs.
Keeping your nose to the grindstone and just doing what you’re told, never bringing up problems and kissing the bosses butt is the norm. Sadly, workplaces are not run as a democracy. “Transparency” and “open door policy” are sometimes just words. I’ve even been told by my nursing friends that I should just say “I’m sorry, you’re right” and just move on and forget about the injustice (whether it’s with bosses, coworkers, insurance companies, pharmacies, doctors, or anyone).
But I don’t think that’s the answer to change.
Here’s how I think we can all make a positive change in the world.
Every time you stand up for an injustice you are making a change.
Every time you defend the defenseless you are making a change.
Every time you do an act of kindness you are making a change.
Every time you acknowledge a person’s goodness you are making a change.
Everytime you allow others to be themselves around you, you are making a change.
Everytime you are authentic to yourself and can be yourself around others you are making a change.
Change doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t happen all at once with the snap of a finger. We will continue to see injustices and even hatred in the world in many forms.
But if, as individuals, we can just be brave enough to take another person’s hand and tell them that we are there to stand with them I think we can make a big difference.
Every time we do the right thing we are examples of goodness and kindness.
Even if you don’t see a difference immediately, know that you are planting a seed. You never know whose life you can impact and how that person will in turn make a positive change in the world.
Thank you for reading.
May you be happy and well. And may you be inspired to continue to do many small acts of kindness with love. That’s where the miracles are.