I find myself in another tricky situation where an effective decision needs to be made regarding my brain injury and working as a nurse.
I have been very upfront and honest with members of staff on every one of my clinical nursing placements over the past two years, from my mentor (the lady who grades me), to the domestics who clean the toilets. My rationale was the more honest I am with people, the better it would work out for everyone.
Alas, this has not been the case.
Each time I have been graded following completion of my placement, the negative feedback I have received has all been focused around the brain injury and my symptoms. The symptoms I told them about. The symptoms they may not have even noticed had I not have been so honest.
Had I have held back with information concerning my brain injury and symptoms, I would not have received the feedback that I have done. There’s been no nasty feedback, it’s just a bit soul destroying after two years.
For the record, I would never push myself too far. I always accept my limitations and go home if I need to, I would never jeopardise the safety of patients, something I have proven I am able to do. I’ve had years of specialist rehabilitation to enable this.
It all goes comes back to my original realisation that the more you tell people about brain injury, the less they empathise and understand it. This applies to every single person I’ve come across in my life, apart from my parents.
On one placement in particular, due to my special considerations, the nursing staff assumed I was only studying nursing because it was paid for and I was looking for an easy way out of hard work.
When I mentioned what really happened to me and the challenges I face on a daily basis, everyone instantly changed their opinion of me. It spread like wildfire.
Nurses that ignored me for weeks even started saying ‘good morning!’ and even smiling at me! Did they think I had a sprained ankle all that time?
“I have a medical condition. It causes me to experience symptoms, the likes of which are hard to comprehend. I’d like to keep the details of my condition personal, nothing against you (just against humankind) but I will let you know if I feel things are becoming too difficult for me”.. or words to that effect.
I don’t care what people think of me. If they think I’m trying to be a shirker and skip night shifts because I’m lazy, so what? I will keep my brain injury to myself for this placement. I’m sick of being marked down for something people probably wouldn’t even have noticed had I not been so upfront and honest with them about in the first place.
I am competent and caring, kind and compassionate, this has been proven in my grades and achievements over the last two years.
NOBODY understands my condition and my challenges. Or they do for a while, then I lose them. It’s inevitable, but this is the truth nonetheless.
I wish I could work long days and night shifts, of course I do. I hate having to go home early from a shift, I’d love to really be part of the team again, but the reality is I probably never will.
But I can live with that, I really can. It just remains to be seen if others can too.
……Let’s see what happens when I say nothing.