Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The 2 faces of a healthcare worker

 A friend had just sent me this article, At State-Run Homes, Abuse and Impunity
It is a recent report by New York Times on the state of nursing homes/state institutions in NY State.

Can I just say how fucking annoying it is that healthcare workers are just depicted in this unbelievable simplistic dichotomy that is also so horrifically and annoyingly gendered??
That either you are the SAINT -- Florence Nightingale figure who would pour your heart and soul out to your patients with no sense of self and probably also be the world's biggest snitch on all your coworkers and be the Super CNA/LPN/RN etc etc ,
You are the lazy, incorrigible, immoral, violent, reprehensible ex-paedophile/rapist/porn-addict???

How about giving us more humane faces? That, maybe most of us happen to be like every other person in the world who is trying to do the right thing but fails sometimes, either cos of moral shortcomings in stressful situations, accidents, awfully stressful and overworked job where you are told to SUCK IT UP, ALWAYS!

I am too tired now to write a whole polished essay and response to the article above so I am just gonna jot down some quick points

1) Stench of union-busting -- blame the workers and their unions for all the tribulatins that happen at work -- maybe, privatized institutions/nursing homes, would do a better job at preventing abuses if the unions didnt get in the way??

2) Please -- there is a difference between healthcare workers who RAPE vulnerable residents, and healthcare workers who are too overworked, too underpaid, to change the soiled briefs of their residents every 2 hours. Please acknowledge the difference in severity!!!! 
Also NOTE the hyperbole: I bet you that what the article meant by "leaving the residents in their feces" was a hyperbolic way of saying that the briefs werent changed every 2 hours. But the conjured image is...terribly different!!!

3) I never got any training at work for dealing with residents who are racist, sexist, violent etc. I know its not right to ever hit someone who is more vulnerable than you, but, really, trust me, there is also a time for self defense at work when you are working with some residents who have severe mental illness, who sometimes have outbursts of anger and violence!!! I am not excusing gratuitious violence, but 
---> recognize healthcare workers' need for self defense
----> we need training for how to work with the people we work with!! I didnt even learn any techniques for de-escalation at work. If I didnt have a supportive network of co workers, I would just be swallowing the insulting shit that some of the residents hurl at us, and! if someone snaps cos of everyday exposure to that, I honestly can understand it!!!
But,this is a labor condition, a working condition. It's not just whether we are good/moral or immoral/evil people. Stop individualizing society's trauma on healthcare workers!!!!

Sorry for such a rant. Too tired to edit :P

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