Friday, April 7, 2017

Cliques


One of the patients is hyperactive and attention seeking with a loud voice that carries throughout the ward.

As soon as someone enters the ward, he calls out to them from wherever he is and runs after them if their path is not redirected towards him.

He asks for random stuff non-stop.

He is never quiet.  This is frustrating for everyone around him, patients and staff alike.

Most staff lacks professionalism on a good day, never mind after a few hours of listening to this person carry on and on.

On this particular day, I was on the ward doing something or other.  I heard the not-so-nice answers from the ward staff, as well as staff coming to the ward for specific tasks.

As one of the social workers was leaving, he called out to her to bring him potato chips.  She turned to him and said, "If you want potato chips, tell your mother to bring them on her next visit.  I am not your waitress."

Three orderlies, along with a secretary not even from that ward, acted horrified and converged in a group, each proclaiming that they cannot believe how rude and unprofessional that social worker is.  They went on and on about how some people should be fired for the way they treat patients.

I challenged them.  I was tired of this.  I knew I would not win my argument against people who can't see themselves, but I have really had it with this place.

"While I sat here, I heard multiple staff members, yourselves included, say things to that patient that were not only non-therapeutic, but outright rude and mean."  They gasped as if I was saying something untrue.  "I get it.  He is obnoxious and never stops.  But what I don't understand is why all of you are right, but that particular person is so wrong she should be fired.  How do you decide who you gang up against?"

"She should not have said that," one of the orderlies answered.

"And you should not have said, 'Are you drunk or are you just plain stupid?' when the patient mispronounced your name," I answered back to that orderly.

Again more gasps.  "What she said was worse than what I said," the orderly persisted.

"All of you said stuff you should not have," I continued, for my benefit, not theirs.  They have no introspect.  "Yet when you discuss how terrible that social worker was, you don't also mention that you all had similar responses.  She is entirely wrong and the rest of you are completely innocent.  I'm really tired of this group lynch mob mentality around here."

I left.

***

A few days later, that social worker greeted me.  She thanked me for sticking up for her.  A psychologist had been around the corner, listening to my challenge of the group consensus that the social worker was wrong and they were right.

"They learned nothing from it.  They only confirmed that I, too, am the terrible person they think I am," I replied.

"Us normal people know better," she answered.


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