My cousin’s a nurse and today I asked her how she likes her new job. She told me she likes her coworkers and enjoys what she does; but the upper management is a hot mess. Like many in upper management, her boss is drunk off that drug called power. If you don’t believe me, allow me to enlighten you. My cousin deals with patients whose lives often hang in the balance. Seconds can be the difference between life and death and decisions…the right decisions have got to be made quickly. Recently, there was a patient in the rehab center where she works, who was unresponsive. She couldn’t get a read on his blood pressure, he had an irregular heart rate and she said he was slipping in and out.
She checked his pulse and then decided to call the doctor. She suggested that they send the man, the patient to the hospital. The doctor agreed, that she should use her best judgment. After she’d sent the man to the hospital, she called her director of nursing (DON) and told her about what had happened and the decision she ultimately made. Instead of the DON insisted that before calling the doctor, my cousin call her to explain the situation first, then the doctor and then, finally after all that phone tag, then she should call the hospital. Really?
Is this type of protocol, this hierarchy, in the best interest of the patient or is this about making you feel special? That’s a rhetorical question because the answer is painfully obvious. The woman craved power even at the expense of someone else’s life. That’s pretty sick and pretty telling. But there are other, less egregious examples of this power-hungry behavior in several facets of our lives.
There are the power hungry men who can’t help but control every aspect of their romantic relationships, at the expense of their partner’s wishes. There are the power hungry friends who think they’re a better authority over your life than you are. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention those awful people we were forced to partner with for group projects from elementary school through college. Those people, who would always quick to question the lone black girl’s intelligence. I’ll never forget the day, one of my high school classmates always felt the need to rephrase every idea I proposed. The sentiment was the same but she rephrased every sentence, presenting it like it was a new idea. When I finally asked her why she kept doing that, she said, she just wanted to reword. Why? For what?
If we’re honest though, the quest for power is one that’s probably showed up a time our two in our own lives. How many times have you found yourself trying to one up the next person, trying to flex your little bit of authority around the job or in your personal relationships? If that’s you, it’s time to check yourself.
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