frazzled_lady (frazzled_lady) wrote in radicalmedicine,

Nursing school ain't all it's cracked up to be

Hey. maggie here from the prairie. Balancing work and politics- My best technique for coping is having a good healthy dose of sarcasm to go with all that homophobia and racism. Whenever I got pissed off in class I usually just cracked a joke. The idea was that being funny would mask the fact that I was angry as shit. Who knows if it worked. At least I amused myself. Over the years, I think that I have become much more skilled at picking battles or walking away when I just can't take the heat. Or maybe I just got tired. Some days I just read fiction during lectures.

As for my overall nursing life,I anticipate working in environments that are pretty cool in terms of politics. I'll probably end up in some little health clinic working with clients who aren't offended that I swear like a sailor. There is a pretty good crowd of people here who are really great and not yer traditional healthcare folks.

The reality is that where I've run into the most trouble has been with in the hospital and with faculty. Kell and I attended the most right wing nursing school in Canada. (Cause we're suckers, plus the waiting lists are long)

We are a judgmental lot, we nurses(really all healthcare professions). I have had countless arguments about pain management for people with addictions, dealt with ridiculous fear and hostility towards HIV/HepC+'ve folks, nevermind insensitivity when queer couples come into the urgent care centre where I worked ("which one is the man in the relationship?" I shit you not.)I also find it difficult to challenge faculty (tho I have found one or two really excellent teachers in nursing). Debate is not widely accepted in healthcare. The expectation seems to be that we do what we're told which, shockingly, is really not a method that works for me. My friends in medicine also have this trouble and feel really alienated. They probably feel it more cause there is still all that old-school bullshit about doctors being god etc.

I also have the same issues as some of you in terms of shit coming out of my mouth that is so clearly classroom propaganda. It is hard to avoid when we are inundated with the same crap day in day out. I am lucky to have three friends who went through nursing with me. We just stuck together and tried to avoid becoming assholes.

I do think it is so important to have good progressive people working in healthcare. Knowing that people like kell are working the emerg in our little prairie city and that the docs I am friends with are doing good shit makes me feel a little better. We do need to stick together tho'. It was the only way I could manage school. Having radical medical people is critical, in particular as non-medical people tend to not want to hear all the gory details (all my stories about bowel movements and wound-care definitely fall short of the mark). I'm pretty sure people laughed at my stories before I started all of this. Anyway it's easy to feel alone in the system.

I'd love to hear about how folks reconcile harm reduction values with traditional hospital settings. Do you get into trouble? I have found this to be pretty tricky.

Kay, look forward to all your posts...


ps anyone going to 'Hear and now' the harm reduction conference in vancouver at the end of the month?
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