Culture, Diversity, Sensitivity, and Congruency in the Workplace

What are some of the phrases that come to mind when we think of cultural diversity, sensitivity, and congruency within the workplace? Things such as respect for others and one’s own cultural beliefs, morals, values, and language. All these things are correct and would accompany the general definition of culture and diversity. However, let us look more closely at the definition of culture and how understanding diversity within cultures can affect the work environment. Dr. Madeline Leininger describes culture as a group’s value’s, beliefs, life’s norms and practices that have been learned, shared and/or handed down (DeNisco, 2016). People’s cultures are the framework they use to solve problems be it at work, at home, or with their health. Comprehension of other’s cultures opens up communication, understanding, and makes it simpler to care for one another. When this doesn’t occur, it can be due to a cultural mismatch which is when people violate the cultural expectations of another individual (DeNisco, 2016). There needs to be an awareness into your own personal style of interaction in order to prevent from offending someone who is not of your own culture, resulting in a cultural mismatch. Being present and aware of yourself and that of others can assist in decreasing the likelihood of a mismatch occurring. We must be sensitive to each other’s background, belief systems, norms, and practices so that we can care for each other in an appropriate and culturally sensitive manner. In doing so, we create a welcoming environment for all cultures. According to Wehbe-Almah, & Fry (2014), we can better honor this process by being person centered, having cultural assessments and evaluations, and providing education and training to staff. By maximizing learning more about culture, diversity and sensitivity we facilitate an environment that empowers us to explore issues with diversity and be leaders in providing culturally competent care to one another and those we serve. Learning to be sensitive to cultures that differ from our own teaches us to respect one another, our differing beliefs, traditions, morals, and values and help break down barriers that prevent team work, congruency, and healthy relationships in the workplace. It also enhances cultural competence, promotes cultural diversity, and teaches cultural sensitivity and being sensitive to different cultural groups (Kratzke & Bertolo, 2013). This is crucial to the work we do for our patients, but equally as important to better serve the needs of each other.

References

DeNisco, S. M., & Barker, A. M. (Eds.). (2016). Advanced practice nursing: Essential

knowledge for the profession (3rd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

ISBN: 9781284072570.

Kratzke, C., & Bertolo, M. (2013). ENHANCING STUDENTS’ CULTURAL COMPETENCE

USING CROSS-CULTURAL EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING. Journal of Cultural

Diversity, 20(3), 107-111.

Wehbe-Alamah, H., & Fry, D. (2014). Creating a Culturally Sensitive and Welcoming

Academic Environment for Diverse Health Care Students: A Model Exemplified

with Muslim Physical Therapist Students. Journal of Physical Therapy Education,

28(1), 5-15.

To Advocate or Not? That is the Question…

Is there ever a choice of whether we should or should not advocate for our patients? Even when they’re not the kindest, friendliest, or nicest…do we decide they are not worthy of advocacy? Some nurses face challenges that would place them in predicaments where they don’t necessarily want to help or advocate for their patient. Are nurses held to a standard of professionalism and ethical responsibility that supersedes any personal feelings they may have from an experience with patients? Yes, we expect that not every patient will be the nicest, the kindest, or on their best behavior, but we sat that aside, at least we should. I remember being told a story from a nurse about a patient who requested a different nurse because they did not want a Black nurse. After asking several questions to find out if there was a problem or if something was done to offend the patient, the patient stated the nurse should be mopping floors and cleaning, but not being a nurse. The patient was very sick and in the middle of her rant, she started going into respiratory distress. The nurse put an oxygen mask on while the patient was fighting her and telling her not to touch her. She called for respiratory and assistance from her colleagues. This was a very precarious situation to be in and someone without the passion and love for nursing and people could have easily walked out the room as if they didn’t recognize this patient going into to respiratory distress. Instead, she put any personal feelings she may have been feeling at that moment to the side to take care of her patient. Meanwhile, the patient was still fighting her because she didn’t have the right skin color. This story gave me chills and made me think of how truly awesome nurses are. We get up, put our scrubs on, and come in to a day of complete uncertainty to take care of anyone who walks through the door in need. That’s what I love about what I do and no one can do it better than nurses (HEART)!

Working Through It When It Seems The Odds are Stacked Against You!

So many things take place when a new person steps onto the scene. In the beginning, there are feelings of anxiety and fear for both the new person and the team awaiting their new arrival. This results in many challenges that you would normally hear people say you have to overcome. I, however, have managed to work through them. I entered a position where I was now responsible for two healthcare facilities, approximately 10 employees, and a heap of responsibilities I was nowhere near prepared for. To say things were stressful would be an understatement. As the new regional director, I wanted to create an atmosphere where we honored each other and became each other’s keepers. This mimicked my motto of “I am my sisters keeper.” Instead, I jumped in head first, thinking I was doing everything right and went through a real awakening. I felt every type of negative emotion imaginable. I didn’t know whether I was coming or going most days and was overwhelmed beyond words.  I’ve heard people say to work against all odds, but I decided to work through the odds. It was not easy and took quite some time to even come to a place of contentment with being in a position I’d never been in or experiencing such a force of rejection. Now, today, with all that I’ve gone through, I have grown through those pangs and moved on to manage a team of awesome women who give their all to taking care of our patients and each other. It took lots of conversations, many one-on-one meetings, but more importantly, it took breaking through the barriers, letting each other in, learning patience with one another, and learning to work through the adjustment period of getting to know one another. I lost some and gained some, but we are much stronger today than we were when we started. My encouragement to anyone just starting out is to hang in there, work through it and not against it. These moments teach us lots of wonderful things about ourselves and others. If we grow through these times, we develop a deeper level of understanding for people and it can prosper us in ways we never thought imaginable. I have an awesome team who I’ve recently recognized with some treats and Rita’s gift cards to show my appreciation for all they do. Learn to recognize and appreciate people’s efforts and hard work.

Nursing our children 

Imagine driving home and receiving a frantic call from your niece that’s incomprehensible. You feel a sudden surge of adrenaline filled with fear, worry and panic. Trying to get her to calm down so I can understand What she’s trying to say but couldn’t. Finally, my sister takes the phone to tell me my nephew had a seizure. I was already turning the car around and on the way to the ER. When I go to the bedside of my loved ones I immediately transition from aunt to nurse. I begin to assess the patient, check vitals, ask questions, start formulating a nursing diagnosis and interventions. I question the doctor and observe the interaction of staff with the patient. It’s important that providers give the best care which to me also requires good bedside manner. I haven’t seen that from the nurse caring for my nephew. I’ve tried to be considerate of the fact that she’s probably having a long night and dealing with children can be taxing. However, as nurses , we need to be mindful and present.  Being aware that we take care of more than just the patient, we also take care of the families of the patients. Please know that whatever the patient is going through also affects those their with them. Emotions are high, feelings are sensitive and they are observing your moves, speech, and how they perceive you to be treating them as well as the patient. Best thing about the night is my nephew is doing better. He’s been sick several weeks with fever and been to the doctor several time only to find out that he has the flu.  He was given meds and we’re still here, but he’s better thank you God. Be the nurse you’d want to take care of you and/or your family. 

Work life Balance…..Hogwash

How many times do we hear people speak about work/life balance? Many times because really we’re all striving to attain it, but is it really possible to achieve? Can we really have the best of both worlds? The answer is a resounding NOOOOO!!!! Because there is no such thing. Think about it if you will. Balance as defined in the online dictionary is a condition having different elements that you end up trying to make proportionate. How likely does that sound like it’s going to happen. However, let’s look at the word harmony which means being in agreement. Which sounds most likely to achieve in your opinion? I’ll take harmony for $500 Alex. Yup because when you’re trying to balance things, you’re taking very different parts that go in opposite directions and somehow get them to travel the same time and distance and still end up at the desired point. That’s pretty hard to do, but when you find harmony, it’s simply finding what works, bringing it to a level of agreement that works for all the involved elements and it works. So, now I’m trying to find harmony between life, work, parenting, me time, and all the other things that take precedence in my life. Balance hasn’t worked so, harmony is my best option. What are some ways you’ve found it helpful to be at harmony within your lives? Identifying what takes you out of your harmonious place and working on those things can be a start. Comment below to share what you do and how you do it.

Let There Be Peace

So, it’s not always possible to have peace in our lives. Life comes with struggles, problems, situations and circumstances. As nurses, we bare all these things and still come in to take care of our patients and their families. When you love what you do and do what you’re passionate about, you find peace in knowing that your presence, knowledge, and compassion is helping to bring healing to a patient and/or their family. I have taken care of patients, especially some elderly patients who just weren’t in a mindset of peace. It could have been problems with children, grandchildren, spouse, illness, money, or any number of things. But when we come in as the nurse for the next 8-12 hours, we must place everything on hold that is outside of who we are when we step through the door. We must speak peace into our hearts and minds so that we can give 100% of ourselves to our patients. We must be quick on our feet, anticipate patient outcomes, critically think, and this is with multiple patients in one shift. But we manage to do just that. We nurture, we care, we give hugs, comfort, a listening ear, medical care and anything else they are in need of. And all this is sometimes at our own expense of peace. So, the next time you go to huff, puff, complain, become aggravated……speak to whatever it is and say “Let there be peace.” May God’s peace rest, rule, and abide in all nurses:} I’m proud and honored to be amongst an elite group of men and women who specialize in giving exceptional medical care.

Dementia can make you feel crazy

So, as a nurse you always want to make people, things, and health situations better. Sometimes that’s impossible and out of your hands. Well, imagine taking care of a parent with Stage 4 terminal cancer and progressive dementia. Not an easy task. Every day is different and sometimes makes me feel like I’m going crazy. My mom is in this state that makes her angry, agitated, and argumentative all the time. She has some good days, but the bad outweighs the goods. It takes a lot out of me and makes me feel incredibly out of control myself with my emotions etc. I try to keep quiet and stay calm, but it’s constantly being abused and mistreated on a daily basis that wears me down. It’s having my children be verbally abused and told she doesn’t want their love or prayer. I try to explain to them that it’s the disease process, but how do I get children to understand the hurtful words spoken and things done to them is not the grandmother they know and love. It makes my heart ache for her and my sons and me as well. Although I know I’m not literally going crazy, it sometimes feels like it. It’s a heavy burden to carry in addition to all the other things I have going on. Sometimes, I stay at work later than I have to just to prevent from going home and having to deal with her:{ But I go because I don’t want to leave my children subjected to her by themselves. I wish there could be peace, but until then, I’ll keep praying and pushing through.

Goodness….nursing can be draining

Nurses go through so much all day everyday. I say that because aside from being a mom or dad, daughter or son, husband, wife, or significant other; you are a nurse. That exists 24hrs a day. How many times have you gone home and worried that you may not have done everything for a patient or gotten up to call in to ask questions about documentation? I know I have and that’s pretty much how my mind operates. It’s constantly thinking about how to advocate for the patients, how to increase access of care, all the political uprising that’s taken place since the new election. All these affect nurses mentally, physically, and emotionally. What are your thoughts? How can we alleviate some of the stressors that we face on a day to day basis as nurses?

Introducing ShesThatRN

This blog allows me to freely express my journey as a nurse, author, speaker, writer, business owner and blogger. The title simply identifies my gift to the world as a nurse. There are so many phenomenal nurses out there who exemplify “ShesThatRN.” I guess you know by now that it specifies females, but know that I understand there are male nurses who “HesThatRN” as well. You are not forgotten and I am grateful to share my platform with you also. Let’s just be ourselves, talk about the issues, come up with solutions, and take this journey together. My blog is my opinion and my truth and I choose to share it with the world. You may agree, disagree or have no comment and that is fine. Please be mindful that when commenting, it is important to be respectful no matter your opinion. I welcome you to come along for this ride as I learn about myself and share that with you. When it’s all said and done, I am my nurse sister and brother’s keeper!

When you’re fit to be tired

So, today was a rather tiring day of meetings and trainings for the managers and leaders in my organization. Me, myself was fit to be tired of an all day session of countless problems and no real resolution. Not to mention no one feels I’m qualified to be in management so they give me a hard way to go when I chime in and give input. It’s frustrating to say the least, but I got through the day. I went off a few times, but not before trying to stay quiet. They just insisted that I speak and so I let em have it. I am a huge patient advocate, but I’m also an advocate for the ones who work on the ground in the trenches. Being a manager hasn’t made me think any less of my staff who work all day seeing patients. As a nurse, I was often frustrated that no one listened to our concerns or even bothered to advocate for those of us working at the bedside. I never wanted to be in management because of this reason, but vowed to never forget where I came from if I did. I also felt that it’s important to voice the concerns of our people who are leveraged to reach the goals of businesses. I am my sisters and brothers keeper. I get fit to be tired, but as long as I’m in a position to fight, I will do so for any and everyone, not just my patients. Because the truth is if we don’t take care of those who care for others, who will? Be vigilant!!!!!!! Working people matter.