My Wonder Woman moment

Ever taken your kids to a movie? For some of us, it can be anything but relaxing and fun. I spend most of the time making sure they really are behaving, sitting still and not disturbing other people at the show. My son is really no problem: he has always vegged and zoned out like a champ when a movie is on. My daughter, however, is a movie-goer of another breed.

She cannot sit in one position for a long time. At home, it’s not a big deal: she doesn’t bother anyone. In a theatre, she spends her time draping herself from side to side, stretching her arms forward and back and standing up in the chair. She doesn’t seem to even notice she does it. And she asks questions and makes comments constantly. She is at that age where one begins to unravel the complexities of subtext in cinema. So she asks for clarification a lot. I must admit, even at home this tends to get on my nerves. And we’ve been shushed enough to make me panic a little everytime she does it. I admit: parenting has given me a weird combination of the most banal PTSD issues I never imagined.

I went through my normal paranoia while the movie started. Make sure drink bottles are open and next to the right kid. Open up packages during the opening ads so it doesn’t happen during a crucial scene. Turn off our devices. We were all good. Movie started and it was just like most we go to. Some shifting about, a few stage whispers. But, when the scenes on the Amazon island started and little Diana ran out to watch the warriors train, the cutest thing ever happened. A group of 5 girls close to the front (about 4-5 years old) stood up in their seats and gave this crazed war-cry. I braced myself for those poor girls and their poor mom about to get yelled at.

No yelling happened.

Almost the entire theatre giggled or cheered approvingly. I felt so much love in that one moment that I admit I was a little overwhelmed. Those girls cheered for a strong female character that they loved and an entire theatre approved. Let them be kids and geek out.

Other kiddos started cheering and clapping throughout the movie. It wasn’t annoying: it added to the experience. My daughter joined in. Hell, I joined in a few times. I saw a few other random adults doing the same. There was also one particularly cute time when the 5 year olds in front got very expressively grossed out by the kissing scene in the movie. I’ve never heard so much laughter during a kissing scene.

Yes, this movie is good. Yes, I’m glad a strong female lead from comics got her own movie. Most importantly to me, it is the first time in quite a while that I fully relaxed at the theatre with my kids. It’s rare that you feel a moment of bonding with everyone in the theatre at once. I love that this movie gave us that moment.

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We don’t see you enough…….

I am a Clinical Nurse Educator. Most people outside of healthcare hear that and assume I am some kind of teacher for nurses. Fair enough: at times I am. But I don’t teach in a school. I teach in a clinical setting: I work for a hospital. I am not focused on training people to become a nurse. By the time I meet someone in my role they are already a nurse. They know how to care for and assess patients. They don’t need me to critique their practice. I help them understand their job role when they first start a job and then support them in learning any changes their role may experience after that. Sounds so much easier than it really is.

Want to hear what I spend most of my time doing? Talking to people. I talk to managers so that they can give me updates on changes in the wards. I talk to staff members to find out what’s going well or badly in their job. I talk to C-suite (CEO, CFO, CMO, etc.) executives to tell them what staff and managers need educational support with and ask them for money. After I’ve used that money, I keep meeting with everyone to explain how the money was spent and quantify that all the work I’ve done made an impact.

Somewhere in between meetings and the conversations, I get time to plan sessions for training. Other times I find specialists to provide training that I cannot: it’s not about me being the teacher all the time. It’s about knowing my staff and giving them what they need. It takes planning and research and taking chances. There aren’t nice and easy templates for what I do. It involves a lot of figure-it-out-as-you-go and requires adaptability and resilience. In all honesty, I probably spend a grand total of 10 days per year in a classroom teaching.

But the feedback I get from staff (nurses and managers) constantly? That I am not available enough for them and they don’t know what I do. They expect that I am there for their personal disposal at all times. And that I teach and teach constantly. Some managers even think my job should be to act as some kind of Catholic nun that catches you doing your job wrong and brings you to them for punishment. I can tell them over and over what I am doing to their face, in newsletters and on posters, but it never seems to be enough.

What don’t they see? In all the talking, people are telling me the things they are frustrated with, don’t understand, and what isn’t going well in their jobs. And if they are talking to me about it, it’s because they don’t know how to make it better. It is my job to help them make it better. I am a nurse: the hospital staff are now my patients.

I spend countless hours gathering information so that I can get to the root of our problems. When I identify the problem, I find a way to fix it and I work with staff to help them fix it. And, after training is complete, I trend the problem to see if it gets fixed or if we need to do more training or change our training. But there is never just one problem. And multiple wards I work with. And only one of me.

What don’t they see? My sleepless nights. My panic attacks in traffic. My hours in the office on weekends and overnight (less distraction that way). Me venting frustrations in kickboxing class. Or crying in yoga. I keep that from them because they are already stressed. They don’t need to worry about me. They see me when I have answers, when I can be supportive. The person they expect me to be. Need me to be.

Sometimes my schedule just doesn’t align with theirs.