Friday, April 22, 2011

They walk among us

You know, I am growing more and more convinced that there is no such thing as a Sisterhood. Travelling pants or sans travelling pants notwithstanding.

Lady Hem told me yesterday that she was confronted by an ACN (whom we shall refer to as Sharon) about not doing any night duty shifts.

Now, in the very recent past, many women we know who have had babies, have suffered because they continued to do night duty. Three out of four developed pre-eclampsia and one developed HELP syndrome (you can look these up like I had to do) and gave birth to her daughter at 26 weeks. All of the babies and the women are fine now but, how much better would they have been if they hadn't had to do night duty?

It's a contentious issue, as night duty is notoriously hard to fill. Yes, there are permanent night duty staff, but not enough to cover every shift and everyone who works at ICU must do their share of night duty. We were having none of it.

Lady Hem went to her GP and got a certificate basically (but not in so many words) exempting her from night duty. She took it to her boss, a woman, who oked it. She hasn't had to do night duty since and feels amazing.

Now, this is where the problem comes in. ICU is a predominantly female dominated workplace. The boss is female, most of the ACN's are female and at least 80% of the nurses are female. Yet the bullying that goes on in that place would make a dockworker uneasy. The ACN - Sharon - whom I hate with a blinding passion, it must be said; came to Lady Hem yesterday and asked her why she was doing so many night shifts and Lady Hem was doing none. She explained the certificate and that the Big Boss had oked it but it wasn't good enough. She basically accused her of not pulling her weight and it wasn't fair on anyone else.

So, my problem? Well, where is the Sisterhood in this? Surely when someone is pregnant - regardless of how you feel about them, or about having babies - that's the time to rally around and offer support? Not the time to make someone feel guilty for looking after themselves? I know I'll cop some flak for this but, guys just wouldn't do that.

I'm saying that guys can't be bullies? Hell no, guys are awful bullies. In fact, not more than a year ago, there was a big story going around about a chef, a head waiter and the boss of a restaurant that bullied a poor girl to death. She felt so harassed that she jumped off a building. They were arrested and jailed but that is something that I find unforgivable.

However, if a workmate is in trouble, or needing to look after themselves - for whatever reason - guys will rally around and help out. Yes, I know, I'm overlooking many aspects of a guy's personality and yes, you hear about plenty of bullying and hazing rituals etc that I also think are abhorrent but, and I'll stand by this, if a male workmate working with other male workmates, needs those mates to do a little extra to help him out; it'll be done, no questions asked. Because those guys know that that guy will do the same if it comes to them.

I'm not talking friends here, I'm talking workmates. Yes, sometimes your workmates are your friends but generally, not so much. I'm also not talking a Brotherhood vs a Sisterhood, just my casual observations.

Having said that, have at me.


The Vegetable Assassin said...

I just think it's down to individuals not genders as a whole. :) I mean Lady Hem got a bitch and bitches are the same world over, right? Where she's being a bitch some other girl is probably completely understanding. I mean I get the frustration - that lady maybe has to work more nights now that Lady Hem can't, so is she right to be miffed - maybe! But it's not something done deliberately to inconvenience here so she needs to understand that maybe the blame isn't with your wife, it's with the hospital/company for not having enough staff cover. No?

rubbish said...

Bitches gonna bitch, fuck her.

tennysoneehemingway said...

Veg: Night shift is ALWAYS hard to cover, because no one wants to do them and I understand that completely. What pisses me off, is that Lady Hem has a perfectly good reason to not do night shift; she's fucking pregnant and it's quite well documented that night shift fucks with you completely.
This person doing the bitching is supposed to do 50% night shift, as said in the award. She's actually doing less than that so she's really got no right to be a bully. But the thing that really steams me, is that surely, when one of your co-workers is pregnant - that's the time to rally around and say, 'yes, I'll help out.' Even if you decide NOT to have kids, at least have a heart. One of their co-workers had cancer and night shift was fucking with her treatment and she asked to not be put on night shift but was refused and bullied until she went back. Two months later, she was dead. A straw poll was taken in the unit and 90% of the women who worked there said they would be glad to help her out by doing an extra shift. But the bullies forced their hand and nothing happened. I don't know, it just fucks me up.

Rubbish: fuck her alright.

Agentblue24 said...

As a male, I'd have to agree with you. There is a lot of unspoken things that we adhere to that seems alien to women. Shit, I don't even understand it myself sometimes, it just kind of is what it is ya' know?