Archive for December, 2010

Consider compassion…..

December 16th, 2010 | General Nursing | 0 Comments

Even the phrase ‘horizontal violence’ sends chills up my spine. Recently I was preparing a presentation on leadership and came upon a document entitled: “Framework Guidelines for Addressing Workplace Violence in the Health Sector: The Training Manual”, and something snapped in me. ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? We need a TRAINING MANUAL to be civil to one another? Please recognize that this manual also ‘trains’ healthcare workers to respond to workplace violence of other sorts (i.e. good people behaving badly for reasons that may be out of their control) and having been in a few of those situations I could have used this information when I graduated. But there is little doubt that aggression amongst nurses (sometimes under the guise of claiming one’s ‘rights’) is not abating – when my research recently revealed levels of aggression by graduates of one year against those who had just graduated, I realized that we have serious issues embedded in the relational context of our discipline.

Is it generational?

So where does this anger and hostility against our own arise? Some say it is ‘generational’ – that the younger generation is ‘cocky’ while the more senior generation is ‘controlling’ (you both know who you are ;-) . Others say that nursing is ‘oppressed’ and that the natural behavior of oppressed groups is to lash out against each other because they are ineffective in doing so with those in the ‘real’ positions of power over them. But I am not sure it is that complicated, nor excusable by virtue of its larger social construction. I believe in the end we are all individually responsible for our own behavior – a ‘collective’ starts with the individual. WE EACH create and emit energy that advances and elevates the shared level of civility or we don’t.

What do we do now?

Now I may well be the last one to be speaking to others about how to live a virtuous life; in fact I can think of few individuals that are truly capable of consistent selfless action. But I know that I am committed to self-reflection and the growth it motivates in me, that I recognize the critical nature of being humble in my relations with others and open to owning the part I play in creating, sustaining or changing the energy I share with others, and that I hold myself accountable to those around me and demand that they challenge me to be the best person I can be. I would suggest that there be no more ‘excuses’ for how we act or for who we are becoming. That there are no circumstances that dictate nor justify a prescribed response. And that we all have the ability to choose our response, if not our situation. Doubters are encouraged to read ‘Left to Tell’ by Immaculee Ilibagiza. As I say to my grads, ALWAYS elevate the level of dialogue. Leave someone with greater dignity than you found them, knowing that YOU ALONE are responsible for what you send out into the world.