Every week I have a curriculum class that incorporates classroom learning with on-the-job learning. I also am assigned articles and such to read for class discussion. Usually the homework is on pathophysiological differences that premature babies experience and what we as nurses need to become aware about. This weeks homework and in class discussion was on the emotions the family feels during the birth and the aftermath of having a premature child.
This week we read an article about an Alsakan family who had a premature baby and did not know that the baby didn’t have any kidneys. The baby died very shortly after birth. This article went the through the feelings of the mother and the father and how it affected them. I found the article very interesting and heart-string-tugging but the follow-up questions to be answered surprised me. The questions were “How did the Mother react” and “How did the Father react” and the last question was, “How do we as nurses comfort the mother and father in their different reactions to stressful situations”. I answered the questions, but somewhere in the back of my mind a giant red exclamation point was bouncing around.
Tuesday was the curriculum class and we were talking about the article. YES, what I had thought was true. This portion of the class was talking about how we as nurses should keep in mind how men and women react different to stressful situations. We should not talk to the men because men don’t like to talk about their emotions, and let the women cry and talk because thats how women react to stressful situations.
OK… lets please graduate from the 1950’s form of thinking. Please.
I felt my hand slowly raise. “Alright, I agree with the fact that we should keep in mind that different people react differently, but I don’t agree with the stereotyping of genders.” Silence. “I think that each person, no matter what gender, will react differently and we should form our way of comforting that person based on their reactions and signals they show, rather than what gender they are. I recently took care of a very Greek family whose father does NOT fit the description you are talking about.” NODDING heads around the room who obviously had taken care of the same family. “That brings me to my next point, each culture reacts different as well and we should be culturally competent enough to know where our boundaries are.” BOOM POW POW!!
“Kayla brings up a very good and intuitive point…” says the course coordinator. (well duh. really? humans are still thinking this way?)
I just don’t understand that way of thinking. I don’t think its fair to anyone to expect a person to react a certain way to anything, let alone the passing of their baby. Everyone is their own person - no matter what genitalia - and we should not stereotype their way of coping. Or being.
Ill get off my soap box, but this was something that I have been thinking about all week. I am glad I raised my hand and spoke, I think I would feel even worse if I would have let it gown unsaid.