Finding A Workplace That Does Not Suck Series Concept #1: Team building

I was sitting at the nurse station on my unit when my boss walked by after interviewing a potential addition to our quirky team. All of us introduced ourselves and sent good wishes toward their

Source: Work Families: Where Nursing Shines

Finding A Workplace That Does Not Suck Series Concept #1: Team building

This article resonated with me. Actually, it got me thinking.  I would agree that work families are emotionally possible, but they have to be cultivated….and can be shaped by the people that are on the team. People can be outgoing, shy, intellectual, snarky, sarcastic, etc.  Everyone brings something to the workplace table.  As long as there is good communication, the team will grow.  The subsequent trust and commitment will make the workplace enjoyable and meaningful.  That can make a great shift fun, and a difficult shift bearable.

However, the team needs to bond organically. It can’t be forced.  Perhaps stating the obvious, but years in a variety of jobs over the years tells me that it isn’t obvious to some….namely, employers.  Unfortunately, businesses and corporations want all of the benefits of the teamwork – but are not aware of/understand/nor care about creating the environment to support a team. No, it’s not boring meetings. No, it’s not getting low-budget bling (lanyards, water bottles, etc.) with corporate logos on them.  More often than not, bosses paraphrase the empty parental solution to siblings that aren’t getting along:

“I want you all to get along. I don’t care how you do it.”

That ranks up there with “don’t make me come back there” and “I will turn this car around and we will go STRAIGHT home!” These statements remind me of my  childhood memories of sitting in a large, light blue Ford station wagon barreling down a distant highway during the 1970s.  We learn, at an early age, the difference between a real and empty threat.  The surface truce with siblings could be masked in front of the parents, but the resentment over such trivial things as this-is-my-side-of-the-car-and-thats-your-side arguments did not fade as easily.  The same can be true of co-workers. One moment, they can be civil and stand-offish to outwardly hostile.  This is what is known as “drama.” It exists, to some extent, in all workplaces.  At high levels, the drama can be as stifling as someone seriously ripping a fart in the med room.  This spontaneous analogy being obvious.  You don’t want to be there, but you have to be.

The synergistic power of having a great team of people is incredible.  As a nurse (extending to any medical field, I suppose), it is even more important.  We face very intense moments that require us to focus, assess, and act on our training, skill sets, and emotional resources to keep our patients safe and healthy.  Research identifies the negative emotions as impeding our ability to provide safe care. When our managers and coworkers function as resources and support; we can maximize our care.  However, when the work environment leaves you feeling alone and overwhelmed; you don’t have enough emotional resources left to be the best nurse/worker you can be.

The bottom line: Regardless of the source of your motivation to work, if you don’t want to be there; it is likely time to move on and work somewhere else.

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Paranormal Investigations Should Be More Than Jittery Night Vision Video

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I will admit this out loud: I find many supernatural topics, especially the concept of ghosts, interesting.

However, my education and training in the education and medical fields requires me to consider such things as the scientific process, logic, and the avoidance of assumptions.   The entertainment value drops significantly when any paranormal show becomes a video collage of untrained, emotionally volatile and easily scattered people leap around in allegedly haunted places.  Television shows like T.A.P.S. and Paranormal State are more aligned with my need for some application of a systematic approach.  The T.A.P.S. members include those who were in HVAC or some such related field that allows them to understand the science of what might be causing some phenomenons in their research.  I also appreciate their approach as cynics; “Is there a logical, perhaps easy explanation for what the homeowner is experiencing?”  Paranormal State, which as far as I know is no longer on the air, also had some reasoning behind the investigations.  They would do research on the site, but not necessarily reveal anything to the owners until after the investigation.  They would also not tell their mediums (who would do readings of the alleged haunted areas) the background or history either.  I will say that Chip (the guest medium on Paranormal State) was overly dramatic, most of the time.  Oops, I think I spoke too soon. Apparently, Paranormal State was caught faking an investigation.  

I have watched The Haunting, which are like documentaries about various supernatural events.  When Ghosts Attack is another show that I have watched.  Then there is one on the Animal Planet Channel that features animals that react to alleged supernatural events.  Those tend to be less dramatic than The Haunting show.

Anyway, my point was more about Zak Bagans. I believe he is part of a show called Ghost Adventures.  He and his buddies find an alleged scary place, lock themselves in for the night, record stuff, then present their findings.  Zak Bagans, who looks more like someone who spends a great deal of time in gyms looking at his own reflection, does little to dispel that notion.  His background includes graduating from a film school, and being a Wedding DJ in the Las Vegas area.  There was no mention of formal training in any science field that I saw on his website.  I have seen the show, but really can’t get past the jittery night vision filming.  He and his cast members react to alleged supernatural interactions, such as objects moving or hearing voices.  They also experience the supernatural as alleged scratches, or goosebumps on their skin.  The Electronic Voice Phenomenons (EVPs) do not strike me as being all that clear.  I have yet to see anything on their video clips that appears to be truly supernatural.  As for assumptions, Zak makes them by the truck load.  When he is not blathering his way through an investigation, he is antagonizing ghosts by mocking them.  Essentially, locker room trash talk – a theme that I am sure he is familiar with – with his buddies during lifting sessions at the gym.  I am guessing that the ghosts he’s trying to contact are probably just ignoring him, at that point.

Personally, I think that the probability of some type of spiritual residue may be left in this realm when people die.  I do not know if we are not destined to ever interact with those forces, much like not likely being able to travel anywhere near the speed of light. However, it is interesting to speculate on the possibilities.  I have spent some evenings going through youtube videos of alleged apparitions/poltergeists/etc. Some videos seem more legitimate than others, but it does get you thinking. Either way, Zak Bagans is….well, I will let you put your own word here.

-D

 

Some Of Us Are Choosing Option #2, Mr. Trump


Just saw this commercial from Trump on CNN. It seems the greatamericapac.com only offers the option of expressing outrage that Trump is having forces align against him.  It’s not the establishment trying to keep you out. It’s not the rules be unfair.  The forces that are aligning against you because some of us don’t believe you have the skill set to be a President. It speaks volumes that you are not offering an option to offer conflicting opinion.

#optiontwo

#buildawallaroundTrump

#dontvotefortheorangeman

Top 10 Signs Your A Bad Barista

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10) Name tag either says Larry, Curly, Moe or Shemp

9) Barely made it through coffee clinical

8) Lungs still sore over break room ‘cinnamon challenge’

7) Unable to concentrate during training because of the large mole on trainer’s forehead.

6) Still kinda freaked out after bombing the “extra toppings” exam

5) Frustrated that a customer said I probably couldnt find my butt with two hands and a flashlight.

4) Became upset when wasn’t able to find my butt with two hands and a flashlight

3) Feeling horrible after starting the Dr. Oz “take all herbal supplements that begin with ‘G’ ” diet

2) Worried that the boss might find out about being a Waffle House double agent.

1) Haven’t quite overcome strange, irrational fear of “everything” bagels. (What EXACTLY do they put in those things!?)

 

Did I Mention That I Love Being A Nurse?

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It was a rough week at work.  Patient assignments can vary, but sometimes the acuity level of the patients can elude the numbers generated on paper.  At the end of a few 12 hour shifts in a row, I felt like my body and brain were steamrollered. Luckily, I work with a great team. Nursing seriously rocks.

Attempting Poetry #1: The House At The End Of The Street

foggyhouseg

I walk to the house
at the end of the street
Dark muddy ruts weave a path
I follow them towards the door
The cold damp Winter air
carries acrid scent of decaying leaves
and burnt wood
into my lungs

Approaching the house
its windows frame of darkness
and Burst of wind masks
any possible sounds of life within

Stepping closer
the curtains dance
through windows without glass
then stop
as the breeze retreats back into the nearby woods

The house doesn’t seem as welcoming as before
and my walk less peaceful

You Got Your Religious Peanut Butter In My Political Chocolate

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A recent LinkedIn article appeared in my news feed about a business owner who lead his subordinates in a Christian prayer group before the work day started.  There were approximately a dozen or so comments; all, of which, were reaffirming the event as “exactly what we needed” and “tired of all of the political correctness.” This reminded of a situation that I faced in the workplace – years before – where the owner was stopping by everyone’s desk with a friend of his running for a political office.  The owner’s friend was collecting signatures to be put on the ballot. As they approached my cubicle, I heard the owner say, “Oh, we can’t get his (my) signature, because he’s a (different political party).”  What is the common theme of these scenarios? That any perceived differences can be held against you. While it may not be life-threatening, the difference of ideology and/or faith can lead to a spectrum of problems that can lead to negative outcomes…..and make the relationship adversarial.

I remember a time, many years ago, that religion and politics were completely off-limits. It was a society norm to leave that out of any discussions; just like the topic of salary.  I am not sure why that has changed. Sure, you could have some personal items on your desk; but they were typically the innocuous family members, crafts made by offspring, or other tchotchkes.  Rules already existed to prevent anything in the workplace that cause people to feel uncomfortable, including sexually suggestive items.  It is likely that most jobs, at this point, require employees to sit through presentations that state discrimination against race, culture, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or any other minority issue.  Employee handbooks are legal documents. It is a contractual agreement between employers and employees. You sign off that you understand the content, and agree to follow it – and accept the consequences when the rules are broken.

I think the best solution is to keep politics and religion out of the office. Unless you work for a specific religious organization or political organization, faith and political ideology should not have any role in your work.  Public or private companies should have very specific rules that guides the business, as well as employees about the absence of these issues in the workplace.  Rules already exist to not solicit coworkers with various charities or fundraisers.  Unfortunately, there is a blending that generate lots of problems.  It is also not a case of impinging upon freedom of speech, necessarily

There are consequences for having religion become visible in the office. Any office is usually going to consist of a range of beliefs, which aren’t necessarily in conflict. However, some may feel more compelled to “witness” or proselytize their faith to others.  The other employees that do not share those beliefs are essentially compelled to be there because it is their livelihood, not the voluntary choice to attend a religious organization.  Even though religious faith is generally considered a private issue, yet some take data like the research data that says 77% of Americans are Christians as “might makes right.” Of course, that implies a unity that is not necessarily real – as approximately 50% are Protestant-based beliefs and  roughly 20% are Catholic. While both are considered Christians, they do not share all tenets.  A distinction rarely made in the media, as mentioned in these cases. Atheists and Agnostics are faced with hearing messages they do not necessarily want to hear.  Non-mainstream faiths may be met with even more antagonism.  How does that antagonism play out at the work place? You get bullying.  So, it is clearly bad if it is coworker-oriented. What if it’s your boss/manager/owner? You can find yourself out of a job. It doesn’t matter if you practice Wicca, Islam, Christianity, or are an atheist. The social stigma of not sharing religious affiliation, while overt enough to make the alienation very real; it can be covertly presented as seemingly legitimate appearing issues of tardiness, poor performance, or other legal avenues to terminate employment.

For those of you who don’t believe there is any persecution…ok, that’s a strong word. How about alienation or ostracism; pick any of the following labels (above) and announce that you belong to that group to your coworkers, classmates, and family. See what kind of reaction you get. Make note of how your relationship may change with them, and whether or not you feel that you’re under more scrutiny than before.

Side note: I am not going to pretend that this issue is one-sided. I am also aware that there are global issues at play here. Religious persecution, especially in less democratic countries, can include killing those who either practice a different faith or no faith at all. Examples can be found herehere, and the historical examples of the Holocaust. This is the extension to the extreme; a trajectory of where the hate can lead.  If we add killing others for ideological reasons, there are far too many to list. Google things like The Sino War (1937) where the Japanese Army marched on the Chinese city of Nanking, the Katyn massacre in Poland (1940), the Killing Fields of Cambodia/Pol Pot (late 1970s), and much more, unfortunately.  I am not linking to these very extreme examples, because they are graphic and disturbing.

As my recent theme of apocalypse were to occur, I have a feeling that humans may fall back into dangerous, lethal habits. Go back even farther in history and the pattern continues. The Middle Ages, not only had their share of the hate; they even had instruments to help them express that hate.

 

Top 10 Reasons To Look Forward To The Apocalypse

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10) Camping fans will be able to extend their skills into daily life. Every day is camping day.

9) Student loans?!? What student loans?!?

8) Robocalls can’t happen if the phones don’t work. Leading to #7…..

7) Texting while driving….along with driving won’t be possible.

6) Solitaire means having an actual card deck.

5) 24 hour news channels will revert back to the local rumor mill….with no loss in reporting accuracy.

4) Neck ties and ironing will likely fall out of favor.

3) Not only will your alarm clock not go off, you probably won’t be going to work anymore.

2) People will have to manufacture their own drama, rather than rely on Facebook anymore.

1)The Kardasshians will be trying to keep up with us.

Exploring The Apocalypse: Disaster Types

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(I couldn’t find any good apocalypse photos, so I used this one I found in my scrapbook that captures my experience from high school. )

For those of you who have been following my blog, I have already shared some initial thoughts about Doomsday Preppers (who are waiting for when the SHTF).  Rather than wallow in depressive hopelessness, I want to explore the issues in an academic manner.  I think there are some things that aren’t being taken into consideration, like what we may actually face versus what we can prepare for.

The types of disasters, according to the U.S. Federal Government, include: biological, chemical, drought, earthquake, fire, flood, heat, hurricane, nuclear, tornado, tsunami, volcano, wildfires, and winter storm. Most of these appear to be natural disasters, so the scale isn’t necessarily global. Many of these are globally-specific threats, as well. Volcanos are dependent on proximity to tectonic plate borders. Hurricanes and tornadoes are heavily mitigated by mountainous areas, and more likely to roam in flatter topographical areas. Tsunamis are limited to coastal areas; just like flooding will be limited to those near rivers and streams. Flooding, just as wildfires and droughts are fairly cyclical – and occur naturally. Winter storms, as well as heat, are seasonal (and conditional) threats. This leaves us with chemical, biological, and nuclear.

Chemical threats would include mismanagement of the resources we already use. It isn’t necessarily something triggered by terrorists.  Taking illegally dumped chemicals out of the equation for the moment, we have countless chemical plants used in a variety of uses all around us.  We also have industrial chemicals in our environment already. For example, the natural gas industry pumps a liquid, deep into the ground to shatter rock which allows them to collect the gas.  This process called ‘fracking’ already poses a threat to our global environment. The BBC wrote an article to identify what fracking is and the controversies around it, including pumping carcinogenic compounds into our water tables. A USA Today article points out that a Duke University study shows increases radioactive materials in the water table, as a result of fracking. Let’s not forget to mention that there are many other nasty chemicals, according to this New York Times magazine article. My point is that the chemical threats are already here. It won’t necessarily be some external threat.  We have our own home-grown people who may have some ideations to initiate “end times” by sabotaging such places. There are also businesses that have used oils and hydraulic fluids, concentration of heavy metals, acids, and other caustic chemicals on premises. Those chemicals are also just an accident away from exposing us, too.

Nuclear threats are real, too. Again, it is already integrated into our society.  Bad guys don’t have to run to the store to pick-up radioactive material or have it shipped into the country. It is here already.  Yucca Mountain is one such place, but used radioactive material is stored in nearly every state in the United States – as seen here on this Federal Government website.  These are highly secured areas, but are just as subject to accidents – as well as any potential home-grown threats.  The Federal Government has many resources, including this page on potential nuclear fallout from our current nuclear reactors. While the dropping of nuclear bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima in the 1940s provided a great deal of data about radiation fallout, sickness, and radii of contamination; there is still a hypothetical element to any potential future radioactive events – which include weather systems, topography, water table, as well as the amount and time that exposure occurs.  All of these factors will shape the intensity of radiation sickness one might experience, which is a public group. Radiation sickness is also documented on Federal Government websites, too. I have a feeling that if a wide-scale nuclear disaster were to occur; a Pinterest-inspired bug out bag and stockpile may not really change the  drastically horrible outcomes that would follow.

Biological threats would not be limited to man-made ones.  We are in the middle of many battles within a wide-range war with microorganisms, as we speak.  MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is one such potential threat. VRE (Vancomycin-resistant enterococci) is another. Yet another, newly emerging threat is CRE (Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae) explained on a governmental website.  These “superbugs” have developed a resistance to powerful medications, which means that they pose a threat – especially once they become pathogenic. In other words, once these “germs” cause illness – we are in serious trouble.  The same Darwinistic ability to adapt to their environment that humans have is shared with other organisms. Our environment poses a threat to a living organism. Some die. Some survive. Those that do, pass on their ability to survive that threat – or, at least provide some level of protection from that environmental condition. We have created a pattern of make a drug/see resistance appear to it as an on-going cycle. That has brought us to this point. However, I have seen a TED TALK from a molecular biologist named Bonnie Bassler that discusses “quorum sensing” which is how microorganisms chemically “talk” amongst themselves to function. I am not sure where this stands on the experimental process, as the talk was in 2009. It does sound promising.  The bottom line is that this threat is, again, a natural one.  Once again, natural recurrence of microorganistic threats are cyclical – as documented at this Federal Governmental website.  Even with the knowledge of standard precautions to prevent the spread of infection, things could get ugly very quickly – depending on the germ, exposure, and how it is managed.

I would also add that a power grid failure, or collapse of our network that provides power to everyone would be another cause for potentially apocalyptic conditions.  A few years ago, we all experienced large regional outages that cause quite a disruption of our lives.  There was a cascading effect where one site failed, which then led to other sections failing.  The talk was that our power grid is outdated and piecemealed together, and needed serious upgrades. Unfortunately, the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality has kept that issue out of the spotlight.  Have we taken our access to electricity for granted (not granite, people) that we are assuming that it won’t fail? Or that we can pick up the pieces fast enough when it crashes again?  If it were to fail, our whole infrastructure would follow in the collapse.  Our commerce, our businesses, our economy, our ability to communicate, our livelihood, our wealth……everything lost without access, once the power goes out.  Our data on our harddrives, documents, etc. Gone. I would think that our ability to travel would be lost, as well.  Power is needed to pump fuel from the ground, yes? People can’t get around. Goods can’t be moved. And, once again, a few days supply of water/food/stuff may not ultimately help. Somehow, the acronym “SHTF” will likely fall short of what we can expect from such an event. It could be a chain reaction that makes the apocalypse a long, drawn out event. We will be ultimately left to survive off the land, shaped by the catastrophic events that lay before us.

This is shaping my views of doomsday prepping to more of a “embrace the chaos” plan.  I can hope my family will be around each other when such an event occurs. For there, we would have to figure out what our assets and liabilities are.  Not a pleasant thing to consider, but seemingly more real.

Peace out.