Nurses: Oppression Can Stop With You - page 4

by TheCommuter 12,516 Views | 48 Comments Senior Moderator

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines oppression as unjust or cruel exercise of authority or power. Due to its position on the social ladder combined with the sometimes unprofessional behaviors of its members, nursing is an... Read More


  1. 1
    Quote from LilacHeart
    Wonderful article! I am scheduled to begin nursing school next week, but have been a CMA for years. I had the distinct displeasure of having to work under an extremely abusive RN. By abusive I mean that she was verbally abusive toward me, emotionally abusive and even physically abusive (as in shoving me when she wanted to pass me in a hall, slapping my hand in "jest", etc.). Even made fun of the size of my breasts in from of co-workers and patients! This was in a private office with a VERY sane patient load, regular breaks, hour long lunches each day, etc., so stressful working conditions were not to blame. She continually berated me because I was ONLY a CMA, and that meant that I was "nothing". The doctors and management were informed. Her behavior was documented. Other employees came forward and said that I wasn't the only one, that every time they brought an MA into the office this nurse behaved this way because she hated the whole concept of MAs. Management did nothing and eventually I had to quit to keep my own sanity. I am anticipating that all nurses are not like this bad apple. At least I intend to never treat a subordinate in such a disrespectful fashion.
    I'm sorry but you were dealing with an old fashioned bully. To end that cycle of abuse, a ghetto CMA, or just a strong personality that hates bullying would have stood up for herself as well as put her in her place when the nurse tried to move on to bullying a person she perceived to be weaker than her.... (shouldn't have to do all that but it's apparent management will not fire her)
    CountyRat likes this.
  2. 1
    Quote from TheCommuter
    As a nurse and an African-American female who has studied the Civil Rights movement, I honestly do not feel that my statements maximized or minimized any party's societal experiences. However, one's perception is also his/her reality, and it is possible for people to object when no offense was ever intended.
    As a black man that happens to be a Registered nurse, I do find the two comparisons to be offensive. Granted,there is oppression in the nursing profession but it does not hold the same weight..... And if you do believe that the two issues are on the same level there's nothing more I can say (outside of I wish I had a d%#^ time machine I could let you borrow)
    neverbethesame likes this.
  3. 5
    Quote from TheCommuter
    History shows us that oppressed groups can push for change if every individual in the group pulls together, supports one another, and organizes effectively. The Civil Rights movement of several generations ago is a prime example of oppressed people coming together. Oppression can stop with you, and empowerment can begin with you.
    I didn't take that as a "nursing oppression is like the oppression of black people" but more of a, "if THAT could be overcome, then certainly the oppression faced by nurses can be overcome."
  4. 2
    Quote from wooh
    I didn't take that as a "nursing oppression is like the oppression of black people" but more of a, "if THAT could be overcome, then certainly the oppression faced by nurses can be overcome."
    Okay, well I'm officially no longer offended, lol! Nicely reworded.... Clear & concise.... But you know, it's a sensitive subject and the passage shouldn't even give the slightest impression that my first interpretation could possibly be what the author means..... Thanks for clearing that up!
    tewdles and CountyRat like this.
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    While I sympathize with many who have complained about how some nurses treat each other, and have experienced such mistreatment myself, I am unwilling to accept the label of "oppressed." If I did so, I would be accepting the role of victim, and in so doing, empowering the one mistreating me. My response to the role of the oppressed is as follows: “others may try to oppress me, but I choose to not participate.”

    “I won’t be wronged, I won’t be insulted, and I won’t be laid a hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.” – Character John Bernard (J. B.) Books as played by John Wayne in The Shootist (1976)
    tewdles likes this.
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    I don't know what why being oppressed is synonymous with victim. But whatever's it's semantics, not important. if you don't want to use that particular wording then don't, but the reality is there is some serious workplace violence happening within the ranks of nursing and we need to stand up. Because as of right now to other professions, we may not use the word victim, but we definitely look pathetic!! New nurses quit in droves, or leave work crying, are chastened for the littlest things. We allow our profession to place the most burdensome restrictive abusive rules on our heads.... I don't know why. Find a nurse that takes BOTH breaks and her lunch! None that I know do, and that is clearly illegal. But we work like that! MD's regularly speak to RN's like children while we are working our butts off! Why allow the disrespect and the list goes on. YOU DO NOT have to participate in "the oppression", but when you tell people you are a nurse, the reputation gets placed on YOU!

    I hate the general attitude of nurses and it's one of the most grievous things I've seen, right under world hunger, homelessness and child abuse. How can we get ourselves together?
    MauraRN and TheCommuter like this.
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    I don't know the answer. I recently left a job with a national home care company because it was a "hostile work environment". The surprising thing is that so many others put up with it. Where I live there are plenty of home care jobs for nurses, so why stay? When I ask they respond that they think they can't do better. But then I find out they haven't even looked. We will continue to see this oppression as long as the nurses stay and put up with it. I did my part by leaving and writing a complaint to the corporate office about the behavior of my supervisors. Corporate said they are investigating it. Of course, they may not do anything about it but at least I complained instead of just ignoring the problem.
    MauraRN, tewdles, and TheCommuter like this.
  8. 2
    Quote from Tiffanybaybay
    I hate the general attitude of nurses
    I refer to the general attitude of many nurses as the 'martyr mentality,' and it disgusts me. It's time to quit lashing out against one's coworkers, stop contributing to the problem, and start being a part of the solution.
    MauraRN and Chiggysmom like this.
  9. 1
    Quote from CapeCodMermaid
    It seems unlikely that nurses will ever join together. Read a few different posts on here....hospital nurses think nurses who work in long term care aren't real nurses. Bachelors prepared nurses look down on those with Associate degrees. Older nurses think new nurses are entitled brats and new nurses want the older ones to get out of the field so they will have a job.
    I don't think it's simply a matter of professional snobbery, I think it's more to do with "divide and rule". I see this virtually every day. It's very easy for a clever manager to sow discord amongst the staff. Favoritism, unfair treatment, words whispered here and there to selected staff members, threats of disciplinary procedures and staff are quick to take the ovine route.

    What management fears most in their staff is a united front of informed, empowered people, which is why unions are feared, and I believe forbidden, or at least actively discouraged, in some of your states. The easiest way to right a wrong is when a group grievance is launched; management can't sweep these under the carpet!

    Another factor I've seen is when a group of people are unsure of correct practice, and are consequently unwilling to buck a manager who imposes an unfair working condition. If you lack the courage of your own convictions, you're going to be trampled on. Sadly, it's easier to keep your head down and stay under the radar than it is to rock the boat and fight for improvement.

    I think our NSMs and UMs need to reminded that they, too, are nurses. They, too, swore an oath to the public and the profession when they qualified. Entering management did not nullify that oath. If they are permitting and/or actively propagating conditions that impact negatively on members of their profession and consequently patient care, they must question their right to call themselves nurses.
    MauraRN likes this.
  10. 1
    Quote from luv2
    Imagine if we use this power in unity instead of tearing each other down. Do you have any idea how powerful we could be as nurses if we stand together and have solid platform. We could change the aspects of how we work. We could be the catalyst that has the resolution. Right now we are at stalemate. We are refusing to hire our own because they do not have enough experience. We are holding those who will not retire accountable for not us working. It is about time NURSES come together .As nurses' we can not allow other professions dictate what we can and can not do as a nurse. The time has arise for us to stop the division and unite as nurses of the same profession.

    Could this be the reason why management looks the other way and turns a blind eye to the antics that go on around their units? While we're busy being nasty to each other, we're not rallying all of our energies and working together collectively to help ourselves! Hmmm . . . seems like a good strategy if were management? Some pschyo babble psychology research probably teaches management to not only allow this sort of thing to go on, but encourage it as well?
    MauraRN likes this.


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