Tuesday, 7 May 2013

The Caring Professions

For some reason it just occurred to me this morning that nurse's week, teacher appreciation day, and mother's day are all in the same week, at least this year.  Why is that?  I have a bone to pick with this...These are three of the most emotionally taxing professions out there- don't they each deserve their own separate celebrations?  I know there are plenty of male teachers and nurses out there these days.  That being said, the fact remains that the majority of teachers and nurses are still women.  And the majority of teachers and nurses are mothers. This is why I don't like this whole consolidation thing.

This year I have become more aware than ever of how difficult it is to be a teacher now.  How little time is allotted for lesson planning, how much of this work is done on the teacher's own time, and with the teacher's own supplies.  I see how many times Jack's teacher has emailed me during off hours to either make me aware of her concerns or to address mine.  I see all of the social and family issues that need to be addressed.  With mainstreaming and "least restrictive environment" in schools the teachers have many students with needs that are way beyond what they can address with the resources they are given.  I think of how much attention Jack requires- and he's one of 20?  Now I know that he has a full time aid- now- but he didn't used to.  How on earth is one person supposed to be able to accomplish this?  All day of "I need this" "I need to go potty" "so and so isn't being nice to me", "HELP ME!!".  And then they go home and what do they hear?  The exact same thing!  Not to mention the juggling that occurs while trying to balance work and home life.  The constant struggle to give one's all to both while never being able to accomplish it because, well, it's impossible.  These women deserve two very separate occasions to recognize their work on each front. 

And nurses?  Let's see, if they are in a clinical setting, they are working 12 hour shifts most of the time, never sitting down, dealing with many of the same demand as teachers, except it very often IS life and death, and there are nasty substances involved, and families who are terrified and sometimes emotionally abusive to the closest person because of this.  Who is that closest, most accessible person?  The nurse.  The biggest commonality between nursing and mothering seems to be that nurses and moms are the ones blamed.  If something doesn't happen fast enough, or the outcome isn't what was desired, or if the patient or child doesn't respond to an intervention in the desired way- who does it fall on?  Nurse/mom.

 I am no longer in a clinical setting, I am a case manager, but the same rules apply, just in a different way.  In a sitting and listening to a patient with hepatic encephalopathy vent for an hour and alternate between screaming at me because they don't have a liver yet (clearly I have NO control over THAT), sobbing, and telling the person listening to our possibly recorded conversation that I deserve a raise kind of way.  In a calling the parents of a child who passes away after a transplant and following up/listening to them grieve kind of way.  In a "please Jennifer, I need this transplant approved in an hour because I forgot to request it when they were listed three weeks ago and now they are going to the OR" kind of way.  For me, this coincides with doctors asking for MY childrens' every reaction, mood, change, aggressive act, and sleep pattern and acting annoyed when I can't recall every detail on demand (like yesterday when I was told I was only signing consents, but was actually asked for Jack's full medical history on the spot).  And giving my own children shots in the morning, and crushing many pills and opening capsules into their juice, sprinkling "yeast aid" under the almond butter on their toast, holding them down to give them fish oil...

And that's just the atypical stuff that applies to an autism mom, or the mom of a child with significant medical problems.  This doesn't even address all of the typical mommy stuff- booboo's, activities, playing, bathing, dressing, comforting, feeding, all of that good stuff.  Once again, I feel very strongly that mommy nurses deserve two very separate occasions- one for being a nurse, and one for being a mommy.

Nurses, teachers, and mommies- apparently this is OUR week.  I celebrate every teacher, mommy, and nurse I know.  And since we are all multitaskers to begin with, I guess the powers that be figured that the days honoring our work should reflect this?  So tell your families it's time for THEM to multitask and celebrate everything that you juggle and accomplish on a daily basis!

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