Have you ever given any thought to whether you are judgmental or not? We all have preferences. Whether we want to our not, we all have judgments. There is nothing wrong with having them. The problem lies in what actions we take. We are influenced by our environment, and often adapt to the beliefs of those around us. Until we have the chutzpa to take a look at ourselves, we often live with blinders on. It’s challenging to question our beliefs because our beliefs have kept us safe so far. That’s what our ego thinks anyway.
It can be as simple as observing your reaction in traffic. Do you react differently if a Hummer cuts you off than a Prius? In San Francisco, there have been outbursts towards the technology shuttle-busses in response to the impact on the housing market and the culture of the city. Abercrombie and Fitch caused uproar when they refused to offer larger clothing sizes, preferring to cater to a thin clientele. Even the recent death of Robin Williams brought criticism and blame - unfortunately to those that hurt most. His family and all those affected by suicide and depression would benefit if we brought some awareness to our speech.
Judgments can be both positive and negative. As nurses, we often work with a different crew each day. Before that morning cup of coffee is finished we often have a sense of whether we think we are going to have a good day or bad day just by taking attendance.
I am very aware of my judgments when a patient requests a room change because on the hospital tour, they saw a room with hard wood floors. Poof! Judgment. What’s the reason for your C-section? I just don’t want to experience labor. Poof! Judgment. The charge nurse calls a “huddle” and announces administrations latest anagram because they know how nurses just love RACE, PASS, MONA, Code Gray, Code Silver and Code Black. Poof! Judgment! And throw in an eye roll.
What is your response when caring for a Jehovah Witness, a prisoner, a nun, a famous person, a lawyer, or a gypsy? Nurses are great at providing equal care to all. We can have our judgments, we just need to bring them out of the subconscious so we can see it and then NOT act on them. Sometimes we are more tolerant of others yet critical of ourselves. If we find the strength to share our fears and vulnerabilities with each other, the judgements often lose their hold on us.
Andrea Dorfman sums up self-judgments and assumptions in this adorable 12-minute film called Flawed.