I worked in the health and social care sector for over a decade as a healthcare assistant, mental health support worker, family support worker and children’s social worker. In these roles, I noticed some common trends such as professional norms, work cultures and expectations from senior staff and management.
For example, workers would say ‘Yes’ to tasks that they have no intentions of doing. They avoid saying ‘NO’ which is what they actually meant. They tend to be ‘pleasers’, wanting approval and acceptance.
Rather, they would complain about their struggles to complete tasks to other colleagues and would provide dishonest feedback to senior staff and managers.
I have always been the ‘odd one’ out because I would say things the way I thought and felt. I remember one day my manager asked me to include an unscheduled visit to my very busy day. My schedule was tight and I had no breaks. I explained that I could not do the visit and gave the reasons.
Surprisingly, this issue came up weeks after in a different way. It stated that I was not a good team player because I ‘refused’ to help other team members.
This might seem to be a minor example. However, when many of such occurrences are put together, it gives a bigger picture. This reminds me of the notion of intersectionality by Kimberlé Crenshaw.
When these negative experiences are internalised, people start to doubt themselves and their capabilities.
This has ripple effects as it distorts their sense of self, how they relate to themselves, others and the world; it impacts on their performance and their mistakes tend to increase steadily. This tends to confirm the self-fulfilling prophecies.
Think of the impact this can have on a person within a team and how they see themselves. This has a massive impact on their emotional wellbeing.
Health and social workers avoid talking about their struggles for various reasons. They need management support to feel comfortable enough to be talk about their struggles and the impact on their emotional wellbeing.
Without providing a conducive work environment to get support and be supported especially now with increasing pressures in the health and social care sectors, the rate of burnout, sick leaves and workloads will continue to rise.
Consider that your health is the most valuable asset you have got. Secure it!
What FEAR is stopping you from saying ‘NO’?
If you want further discussion, send me a message.