Bias and Burnout in The Nurse Industry & How It is Affecting New Nurses: Part 2

This is a continuation of the interview “Bias and Burnout in The Nurse Industry & How It is Affecting New Nurses”

RN turned author, Glennae Davis

Did he have an answer? 

Glennae: Well no, I ended the conversion after that. I didn’t want to talk anymore about that because I needed a moment to figure out how I felt about this spiritually and how it was sitting on my psyche. I took off a couple of days, and I told him we need to have a meeting with you and your boss because my asking for support should not lead to you feeling threatened. That means I’m working on violence and you didn’t come by to help me because you feel threatened. Are you trying to end me? How do you plan on sending me? When you have a threat you’re going to want to end your threat. 

Exactly you’re going to want to defend yourself. 

Glennae: that’s just natural right?

Why am I working in a hostile work environment, how did asking for help turn into that situation, when I ask for help?

Glennae: What is it about me that makes you feel like Ii can do it? I shouldn’t have to.

If you’re a team you should be able to work as a team. I don’t understand, you want a team and you want team players but when it comes to actually pass the ball. 

Glennae: I need support on operations. This is your lab, your cardiac cath lab. I’m asking you for support to run your operations. And what he told me is so impactful that in the TL role he is an extension of the Charge nurse duties like being one of the nurses in the lab. If you are expecting me to extend my duties then that concept alone requires the piler to support that extension or else I’m going to stretch and burn out. 

And you don’t want that with good employees. 

Glennae: Right, so that means we need to have a conversation and conversation is not comfortable. But they’re power moves. I talk about those in power moves. I didn’t want to talk about it, but this is the work that I do.  So I have to have this conversation not just for my own sake but for my colleagues so that they don’t burn out. And the increased productivity that is happening during the COVID-19 pandemic we still have to be protected. We are one of the only industries other than the food industry who has not taken a break and we’re taking the brunt of this. We were already stressed out and already stretched to the limit before the pandemic. 

So how do we continue to empower women, especially women of color when they are always worried about being perceived as aggressive or the “angry black woman?”

Glennae: I think mentorship and Bias and Burnout training. Right now if you buy the book directly from me then you receive the webinar for free. Right now we are doing the introductions, and then we start digging into the chapters because it’s full of content and stores that I wanted to share with black women because they are my reasons. Black women are my reason, nurses are my reasons, health care consumers are my reasons. I have a lot of reasons for doing this work. I am trying to do this in a way that is attracting the people who want to come aboard and want to learn. Because this is my life experience and these are the theories that I tested and had I listened to my EAP, ( employee assistance program) I would go to them and they would put it back on me when i would talk to them about the microaggressions and the discrimination and what the Doctor said to me. He told me “ I don’t see a reason you would be needing to use your thumb.

When I read that part, I was like let me step away for a second because I was angry. 

Glennae: Then he looked at me like I was a show freak. And I felt strange,  but then I knew what I was dealing with. Then I went through the EPA to be referred to therapy and she was like I don’t see a reason why you feel that way. You have an education and you have so much experience. And I’m like it because I’m black! And I need help. Not with being black, but for them to stop oppressing me. The way that academics and the system are set up there is not a way to help empower black women to disregard those stereotypes about us because they are so negative and they breed negativity. It’s about flipping those thoughts. There is a meme that goes about that says the “ next time you call a girl bossy, call her a leader instead.” that’s what we need to do. They stereotype us into being aggressive and we’re not aggressive, but we are assertive. And were assertive which means we are not devaluing you, but we also want to be valued. You’re mistaking me telling you that you are not considering my value as an insult or offense to you and that’s not the case. Like I said earlier we’re a chosen group and I just want to help people understand how to be about their business and not worry about the feelings of what people say. Because it;s years and years of compiled insults that have affected our psyche in ways that we have not even begun to understand. It has to be undone. So mentorship. That’s why I am here. I have encountered a lot there’s not too much I haven’t been through, you’ve read Bias and BurnOut, but i’m pretty sure you have not read “ Yet Here I Stan.”

How did you find the strength to continue to advocate for yourself when it seemed like everyone around you was refusing to listen? 

Glennae: It was only in my weakness where I found strength. I was broken, I had a nervous breakdown. I couldn’t think straight, see straight, I was losing my faith, my career, my health, and my life.  I cried, where the hell is God in the middle of this crisis?  But as soon as I chose to focus on my purpose instead of my ego and all the things I worked for like my possessions and paycheck and benefits or what others would say, and worry about the stigma, that’s where I found the strength to fight for the purpose life I have today.

Now that we are seeing people recover from COVID, but they have a chronic illness they didn’t have before or they are having lasting issues from it?

Glennae: You know I don’t know, I have not looked too far on the interpersonal level about how COVID will affect the health care systems on individual nursing bases. I know it will be a drastic change, but it will be interesting to see what happens post-COVID. As far as chronic diseases we don’t know. We are still seeing what kind of disease this is. I just saw yesterday on the news that dementia is a symptom. We don’t know how COVID is affecting people and it’s just really unfortunate. I wish I had something on that. What I do know about covid is that the US healthcare system is in deep deep trouble. Aside from the cost associated with COVID-19, the workers are stressed, we agreed to that. They are committing suicide or leaving the profession because the healthcare industry is still a profit before people’s business strategy. And our next generation of doctors and nurses are weaker as far as a knowledge base and they are more susceptible to bias and burnout. Our other essential workers are stretched way too far and may not be able to snap back. They come to us for empathy, we don’t have any to give, we can barely support ourselves. That is going to lead to an increase in deadly diseases and poverty for our US workforce. I would love to get people into bias and burnout, so I am going to stay here and educate as many people as possible. So they can feel empowered in the workplace and not be disrespectful of administration and doctors but understand you can’t wake up unconscious bias. You have to do what you know to be the right thing to do, using your rules. You have healthcare rights, you have employment rights. We can do activism all day long, but until we teach people how to use policy, what good are new laws? Creating new laws will not create a moral mind change. It doesn’t create a mindset change, They don’t see you they never have. It’s not a bad thing it’s just what it is. They have their own stereotypes we all need education for slavery. We need post-slavery education white people and black people. 

I’ve read different articles about genetic memory and genetic trauma, I mean just with the stories passed down. Speaking about trauma, in the book Bias and burnout you spoke about seeing a therapist do you feel it was helpful going to therapy? Because when I was reading it I felt like the lady you were going to wasn’t listening. 

Glennae: Just for clarity I sat with a psychiatrist for two years, different from a therapist. I needed a doctor on my team and needed a doctor as my ally. Psychiatrists are more medication-based and want to fix people with medications. And I tried one of her medications and they are not fit for human consumption. I feel for people who did not recover from those medicines because they will wipe you out. So I sat with her for two years because I needed to hear my soul speak. As a nurse I know I have the right to basic treatment first. So I said those are not working and after we got past that I was able to just have conversations with her, we never got into psychotherapy. I just needed a place to hear my soul speak.  In my conversations with her, I was able to redefine what work means. I do recommend therapy for people, I think everyone should have a safe place to hear themselves. I don’t recommend it if you are going to talk about other people, because you need to fix yourself first. If you go and you are willing to see yourself then you are winning. You have to figure out what you need to do. So what I learned in that psychiatry area is another reason why I created my company RX for Life, because psychiatry’s influence over the chronic stress that our workforce faces is part of the reason why people are disadvantaged. Because there is something else you can do, you can use it to learn how to use the policy and learn how to trade. America is a business and it’s citizens don’t know how to trade. 

Glennae: Ask for help, let people know your faults, they may not want to help you, but you always express yourself and you’re asking for the assistance that you need, and which in and of itself is very powerful by knowing what you need to get your job done. In time you’ll see, in the beauty of what happened to you why it happened for you. And you’ll see the lessons in what you could have done and what you can do moving forward. So it’s about perception and understanding. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t express your need, maybe you just expressed it to the wrong person. You have to learn to play the game. 

Regardless of what they say working to failure is not the smartest thing. We spoke a little bit on how Co-vid will affect the workforce but how do you think covid will affect the patients?

Glennae: It’s going to harm the patients because they are dealing with people who are chronically fatigued, in some stage of stress that they have yet to identify, talking about the nurses and medical staff. They are working and don’t have any outlet, the Dead sea is called the dead sea because everything comes in but nothing goes out. It’s impossible to continue that way. People need support, the healthcare system needs support. They need to know what they should do in dealing with bias and to prevent their own burnout. Like I took off a week, I don’t have anywhere to go. I could sit here and keep my time for when I could go somewhere, but who knows when COVID is over?  

Glennae: No problem please don’t forget to tell your followers and listeners that if they buy Bias and Burnout directly from Your RX for Life or Naesvision is my indie publishing company. I didn’t create more than one platform. I have it all under one roof. My publishing company then my consultancy and education company. They get a free viral seat to the bias and Burnout webinar. SO we begin to discuss these things. Just remind them that their future health thanks to them for the sound decisions that they make today.  

As women of color, there are some things we have been programmed to believe about ourselves in the workplace. We are taught that if we are assertive, we are aggressive; if we stand up for ourselves, we are defiant and disrespectful. Because we are a woman of color, we should be happy even to have been chosen. Microaggressions and unconscious bias have a way of making you feel like you are going crazy; peers and co-workers will claim you are just making it up in your head, and there is nothing to worry about unless more than one of you is experiencing the same thing. Many of us have the “ I just need to keep this job and pay my bills mentality” we don’t want to rock the boat because we don’t want to end up unemployed or be seen as the troublemaker by our co-workers and management.  The stress and anxiety that comes will these outlooks, and bias treatment eventually cause long-term health problems.

We gain weight, lose our hair, develop illnesses like hypertension, diabetes, and depression, to name a few. Suppose you believe that your workplace has become a detriment to your health and that you are experiencing workplace bias. On the verge of burning out, I strongly suggest reaching out to Glennae and purchasing her book Bias and Burnout. It would help if you did not have to deal with workplace inequality and mistreatment on your own. You are not crazy and deserve to work in a supportive stress-free environment. Do not allow unconscious bias and burnout to keep you from securing the bag or from the health equity and respect that you deserve. For more information on Glennae Davis RN and her company RX For life please visit her site 

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