“You know, I just had a thought…”
I’m June Garen, author of the book, Hey, I Could use a Little Help Here. Health care is a hard place to work. Patients, families, co-workers, and the multiple layers of the health care industry all have expectations, demands, and opinions about the frontline workers. Patients and families look to those same frontline workers for solace and comfort on what is often the worst day of their lives.
Sadly, violence is rampant in the healthcare setting. There are few who have not felt effects of verbal or physical attacks. Lateral and vertical violence occurs so often between healthcare workers that, for many, it is part and parcel of the workplace. Unfortunately, it has become so embedded in the work culture that it may not even be noticed as being aberrant in any way.
In my book, I share thoughts about my healing journey after suffering a violent assault by a patient. I was not at all prepared for the physical, emotional, and spiritual wounds that this assault would cause. I never anticipated how isolated and lonely the pathway to healing would be. My goal is to provide support, encouragement, and resources for others who are working to heal.
The title of the blog, “You know, I just had a thought” comes from a little inside joke. It would seem that my patterns of thinking have become far more fluid and, perhaps, a little less organized since I was injured. At times, out of nowhere and unrelated to the topic at hand, I will announce, “you know, I just had a thought”. Life is full of surprises and you will never know just what rumination I may deliver. Many days, I surprise my own self! After mulling the options for a title over, this phrase seems pretty perfect for the heading on a blog which contains reflections on the maze of healing. This blog opens up space which is meant for sharing thoughts, ideas, and situations related to recovering from the experience of violence in the healthcare workplace. My mental meanderings will do just that in terms of what I found that is worthy of sharing from my own trip, as well as the journey of others, through the valleys and mountains of the healing experience.
So, treat yourself to some time for reflection in the hope that you might shift your thinking and broaden some horizons. Make yourself a really good pot of tea and pour a cup. Let’s settle in for bit… because, you know, I just had a thought…
This is my third and, hopefully, final pass at writing this blog. Originally, I started with an upbeat sort of tone that felt empowering – change could really happen, and we might just find ourselves feeling like our workplaces embraced safety for those giving and receiving care. That was the rather fantastical vibe that I was trying to capture.
My next attempt got no further than the title. The goings-on in the world simply overwhelmed my ability to move into writing mode.
I totally caught your attention with the tantalizing title of this blog, didn’t I? I can only imagine the wheels spinning in your heads . . . some probably wondering if I have finally gone off the rails completely and become some sort of hard-hearted psychopath.
You may think that I have washed my hands of efforts to speak up…
Recently, I asked someone who I do not know to spend some time on a video call with me. That’s right, a total and complete stranger. Not only a person whom I have never met, but also works in an entirely different area of healthcare. Why? My gut told me that he would share a perspective that would be worth hearing.
Welcome to my first ever blog post! I approach this part of the website with a blend of excitement, trepidation and more than a little anxiety. However, that’s why this space exists: for us to safely share, create and be vulnerable. So much of our time – especially of late – has been spent responding to stressful events and situations, leaving very few opportunities for us to dream and envision positive changes.
Self-nourishment Life can get crazy busy sometimes! Work, school, family, chores, social commitments… the list goes on and on! It often feels as though there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done – let alone having a little time to focus on your own needs. There is currently a lot of background noise around the importance of ‘self-care’’, but what does it really look like, and how does it work for those who spend so much of their lives caring for others? Does self-care mean booking in for a “day of beauty”? Planning a vacation to a tropical paradise?
I’ve lived in northern New England my entire life.Here in the Northeastern United States, we are known for many things, with some of the more noteworthy items including colorful fall foliage, mountains, skiing, taciturn locals and thriftiness that is refined to an art form. We are also fortunate to have many lakes, rivers and streams.While these waterways are all lovely to look at and offer opportunities for a variety of recreational activities, they also tend to hinder expedient travel without some sort of clever detour.
Recently, a friend asked if I continue to attend the meetings and activities of political action groups. After pondering my answer, I offered that I feel as though I have to keep showing up, regardless of how seemingly daunting some issues may be. My friend just shook her head. She volunteered that she simply “doesn’t have the bandwidth” for those activities. I totally get that. I have experienced the overwhelming frustration at how dismally ineffective my efforts have been at making any meaningful change. My bandwidth is close to being non-existent on some days, too.
Why? When I appear to be all about encouraging you to move forward and open yourself up to shifts in thinking and action, why am I offering you a chapter on backsliding? It’s a valid query and one that deserves a bit of discussion.
I have found very few universal truisms in life, but I am willing to commit to at least one. When changing ways of behaving or thinking, backsliding happens. I would go so far as to affirm that it is almost a necessary part of a change process.
I hope that this finds you healthy and happy. It’s always fun to catch up with a good, old-fashioned letter! Here’s a bit of an update on what’s going on in my world these days.
I am SO excited about a new position that I have accepted – I am going to be a school nurse! After decades spent in the trenches of scrubbing and circulating in the operating room followed by a brief stint in the world of caring for the chronically mentally ill, I am blessed with an opportunity to have what is known in the trade as a “legacy” job. This is the final stage of my nursing career. As the brilliant poet, Maya Angelou, said, “If you’re going to live, leave a legacy. Make a mark on the world that can’t be erased.”
That’s why I have created this platform, to send a message of hope and healing for survivors of workplace assault and their colleagues, family members, and friends.