Grooming: the process that abusers use to slowly desensitize victims to abusive behaviors in order to normalize the behavior. The behaviors may initially cause surprise when introduced, but do not raise the alarm to a high level.
Before the pandemic, this was occurring regularly throughout corporate medicine to the point that exploitation and chronic abuse became the norm. The pandemic then caused the abuse to escalate noticeably. It caused us to ask ourselves who the monster was that we were working for. Greed. Power. Control. A monster that keeps people sick for their own profit. A system that lies in bed with insurance companies, legislators, educational institutions, pharmaceutical companies, and controls the public trust despite continually violating it. It shook many of us into asking why we allowed the life to be sucked from us, for our energy to be stolen and exploited, for our reserves of love & compassion to be depleted. Our children, our loved ones, our own physical needs were set aside in order to feed the machine. Stress and sleep deprivation removing years from our lives...and life from our years.
They play on our compassion for others, the empathy we have cultivated and earned by walking our own journeys. They are friendly and make you feel part of something greater while simultaneously making you feel guilt. They hold the suffering of the team and of the patients over our heads knowing that we would not want to increase the suffering of another. When guilt and pressure no longer work...they begin making threats. Threatening mandatory weekends, mandatory overtime including being held over after a 12 hour shift, additional assigned work distributions, behavioral contracts, disciplinary action, threatening livelihoods and attacking lifestyles.
Resiliency training for nurses and other healthcare workers, in my opinion, is akin to grooming. It is asking for & programming someone who is abused and exploited...someone who is drained of all coping mechanisms, to convince victims to feel inadequate in their own mental virility & capacity so that they may continue the propaganda that results in willful mistreatment.
I see this and I will not stand for it. I left corporate healthcare because I could no longer allow this treatment to continue, to allow it to cast its shadow over my family, to allow it to attack my psyche.
I stand in my power for what is right, what is ethical. I stand in my power knowing that I am made of love to be love. It is this love that maintains hope for a lighter future, for a better way forward.
In sharing these stories, it is my intention to illuminate the shadows, not to channel blame in any specific direction other than at the healthcare system; it is a broken system that was built by our society, and driven by a capitalistic economy. I too shared in being complicit: for allowing; for not speaking my truth earlier; for feeling the fear of judgement; fear of instability; fear of the unknown outside of medicine; fear of change; fear of criticism; fear of retaliation; and the fear of standing tall & isolated while the bridges burn around me.
Once, I was asked if I would stand in front of a room of 200 doctors and say the same thing. My answer is yes and my reason is that many of them are probably feeling the same way. I imagine that their intentions, when investing 8+ years of their lives into an education, were to help others, to be of service in a meaningful way, to make a difference, to care for others. This is the seed of the crop. Money, debt, lifestyle, power, control, recognition are secondary and grow up like weeds with the potential to choke out the crop, the seed of intention. I believe that, in most, the seed has not died entirely. Instead, like a caged animal, they remain trapped by learned helplessness. So entrenched, so beaten down, so burdened by the world & its constructs (fear, failure, uncertainty, stigma, debt, pride) that they cannot see a way out. In standing, in speaking my truth, in shining my light, I hope to be the water for the seed, a fan over the coals, a spark, a catalyst.
Alone, I cannot bring formless into form; to bring inspired ideas to expression. What I can do is set this intention ethically and clearly; allowing the universe to take care of the rest.
I am a vision holder. I am light and love. I am hope.