I am a nurse… But I am black first.

I am watching the protests around this country and realizing just how little people knew about the racism that black people still experience. I have sat in my department and listened to people complain about the protests without understanding what it is we are protesting.

We want justice and equality as a people!

I quickly realized that while I will always be a nurse, which I have always seen as my identity, I am black first.

My mind goes back to all those times I’ve had patients hand me their trash because they thought I was EVS, even though I wear the same ciel blue as all their previous nurses. I go back to the times where my patient assumed I was the tech and my white tech was the nurse, and looked almost dismayed when my tech corrected them. I go back to being called “n*gger” multiple times by patients who saw no issue with using the word and fully meant it as an insult. I go back to being the only black nurse on a shift and not being included in conversations.

I realize that I am a nurse but I have always been black first.

I am proud to be black.

I am proud to be a nurse.

Both of those things are a part of me, they are intertwined.

Instead of being angry at comments based on ignorance of what is really happening, I have started educating my coworkers. I am speaking on the black experience in this country. I now speak up about what police mean to black individuals. I speak on our experiences. I talk to my coworkers about racism at its core.

I don’t want to be the “angry black woman”, I want to be the black woman that educates on the black perspective.

I am a black nurse, I carry black experiences, I will not carry them quietly.

2020, AKA, The Apocalypse

It feels like the end of the world. Healthcare workers on the front lines of a pandemic having to fight for appropriate PPE, hospital administration firing staff for speaking out, medical professionals being sick and still told to come to work, it’s chaos.

They call us heroes in the outside world but we are disposable to the inside leaders. This pandemic has shown me how far some hospitals are willing to go to save money on supplies.

Employees are getting sick with COVID, and still come to work because they can’t afford to stay home.

This isn’t okay. Hospital administration needs to get up out of their plush chairs, step out of their lush offices, and come see what it’s really like out here.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a rant about being called heroes. People really want to call us heroes, and I thank everyone for that. However just know that title also includes EVS, lab techs, CNA’s, PCT’s, transporters, cafeteria workers, pharmacy, scrub techs in the OR, and everyone else that helps a hospital run smoothly.

Let’s hope administration learns to see all of us as heroes, and treat us like it.