Admittedly, it’s a little early to start Halloween planning, but we have some preparation to do! Folks have been patient with me about the Sunlight Project, but the time for the next step has finally come. I hope and intend to bring the fame of shame upon those who abuse nurses, to make the abuser’s chair an uneasy place to sit, and give abusers a more healthy respect for the power of nursing. As I described in My Apologies to Nurses & Allies: Sunlight Post Cards, I value the words of Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis:
Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.
But many abusers in the health care system have rather dark lairs. Only powerful light will penetrate, the kind of light that the media offers. We need to make the topic more enticing somehow, offer a hook, a taste of scandal, some sort of bright shiny object to attract nurse and media attention. Hence our next move: on to the publicity stunt! I’ve hinted about it before. In Surrender is the Soul Killer, I wrote:
“Combine comedy and protest, humiliation and justice: I like it. Don’t offer abusers the respect of our anger if they don’t deserve it: laugh at their misdeeds instead, cut them down to size, create vivid spectacles that our ratings-addicted news media can’t resist.” Imagine a media feeding frenzy, abusers waking up to reporters on their lawns with their cameras and microphones, or wondering when they might arrive. We see such scandals erupt all the time: why not ignite our own? We’d level the playing field between abusers and victims, between the powerful and the weak. “I picture a new beast to fight for nurses! It’s growing as we speak, in the Big Red Carpet laboratory. Soon, it will live!”
That “beast” started out as a humorous metaphor, but it also sparked an idea. I want to encourage nurses to help each other find the worst abusers out there: individuals, facilities, and companies. But how? Here’s my thought: let’s make a contest out of it! The winner gets to pick the target(s) for the subsequent ‘fame and shame’ step. Come Halloween, we’ll see that next step. Hence my pal Frankenurse, the official contest mascot.
Ever the shameless promoter, I decided to call it “The Big Career Suicide Contest.” To enter, simply submit an individual, facility, or company that abuses nurses. Examples include poor housing or work conditions, short staffing, bullying, harassment, and firing and/or filing for license termination for fraudulent reasons. Briefly explain why you think your entry is the best person or place for a nurse to commit career suicide by accepting work with them. In short, tell us why we should chose it as this year’s target, er, “winner.”
Use your best judgement with entries. Use the comment system or toher options listed at INTRO/CONTACT. For those who feel vulnerable to retaliation, feel free to make use of the anonymous Sunlight Project reporting system. Please, no HIPAA violations! I’ll post your entry with all the others. Once we establish a viable entry pool, all interested nurses can vote to decide the winner.