PC or not PC That is the Question.

  1. was i being racist?

    had an incident at work the other night. phone call from another ward - "can we borrow xyz tablets for a patient?"

    me being me replied "certainly but we don't want them back after the patient has swallowed them!"

    the nurse at the other end of the phone laughed and i sent the tablets to the ward.

    about 15 mnutes later one of my co-workers answers the phone- where are those tablets? turns out i had sent them to the wrong ward. he states - "she must not have heard properly because of your accent" he came over to me and said he had made a similar error in the past, possibly with the same person because of her accent.

    a little later the nurse rings back accusing my co-worker of being racist! how dare he make racist comments etc. to try to get another viewpoint he puts her onto me and i try to explain that what was meant had nothing to do with race that a comment on accent was merely a comment on an accent and she could have been austrian or anything but it had nothing to do with race. she blew up! "you are being racist i am sick of being picked on!"

    she contacted the nurse manager and made a complaint. nm saw me and i told her i had tried to explain on the phone but the nurse was not listening - nm told me the nurses name - first time i even knew who i was talking to!

    treid to apologise in person - she was not available was "off cooling down" wrote out a written apology, by hand before i left work. i did this more because i don't like the thought of someone being upset over something i said than the fact i thought i was wrong.

    got a phone call today - could i rewrite or type apology and leave off final sentence "hope this makes you feel better".

    now i am a little disturbed about this whole incident. i do not like being accused of racisim. i find that a darn sight more offensive than if someone were to call me a "fat dumb honky" and yet i am in the wrong.

    was i being racist?

    p.s. i still don't even know what race the nurse was, is or wants to be!
    Last edit by gwenith on Apr 28, '03
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   gwenith
    Now even the board is agreeing - I can't post this thread!
  4. by   nurse2002
    originally posted by gwenith
    was i being racist?

    had an incident at work the other night. phone call from another ward - "can we borrow xyz tablets for a patient?"

    me being me replied "certainly but we don't want them back after the patient has swallowed them!"

    the nurse at the other end of the phone laughed and i sent the tablets to the ward.

    about 15 mnutes later one of my co-workers answers the phone- where are those tablets? turns out i had sent them to the wrong ward. he states - "she must not have heard properly because of your accent" he came over to me and said he had made a similar error in the past, possibly with the same person because of her accent.

    a little later the nurse rings back accusing my co-worker of being racist! how dare he make racist comments etc. to try to get another viewpoint he puts her onto me and i try to explain that what was meant had nothing to do with race that a comment on accent was merely a comment on an accent and she could have been austrian or anything but it had nothing to do with race. she blew up! "you are being racist i am sick of being picked on!"

    she contacted the nurse manager and made a complaint. nm saw me and i told her i had tried to explain on the phone but the nurse was not listening - nm told me the nurses name - first time i even knew who i was talking to!

    treid to apologise in person - she was not available was "off cooling down" wrote out a written apology, by hand before i left work. i did this more because i don't like the thought of someone being upset over something i said than the fact i thought i was wrong.

    got a phone call today - could i rewrite or type apology and leave off final sentence "hope this makes you feel better".

    now i am a little disturbed about this whole incident. i do not like being accused of racisim. i find that a darn sight more offensive than if someone were to call me a "fat dumb honky" and yet i am in the wrong.

    was i being racist?

    p.s. i still don't even know what race the nurse was, is or wants to be!
    i dont think you were being racist.

    i actually got a call from a doc wanting to know the status of a patient. i could not understand him and said "im sorry, will you slow down, i cannot understand you". he about lost his mind. i wasnt being racist. i was very respectful. if you cant understand, that is not your fault. you were not rude or anything.

    when i first started working in this state i always had to repeat myself due to my accent. it wasnt anyone's fault. my accent isnt that thick either, but it is there. racism never even entered my mind.

    whomever said you are a racist needs to sit down and do some serious rethinking. are they also the type that if someone just doesnt like them because of lets say their attitude they yell racism?

    ive read many of your posts. you seem to be a fair, evenminded and openminded person. i would of never thought racist.

    don't let it bother you. you know what you are and what you are not. and i dont think it is a racist.
  5. by   Jaydenc
    I cannot even immagine being in Germany or Korea right now and making myself understandable. As a nurse and trying to understand the scrypts of the M.D. it is sometimes impossible. But not to understand a nurses note during an inspection, that is unforgivable. So what is next? We already know we cannot read the doctors notes, and we are going to get into trouble with the department of health services. That is the biggest problem we have, right?
  6. by   moz
    I agree with the others and would like to add there is no way I would rewrite or type the apology. You've done all you should and more it seems.
  7. by   karenG
    if being unable to understand someone because of their accent is racist...then I think the world is going slightly mad!! I am scots, grew up in manchester and have a strange accent!! but I dont get offended if someone cant understand me! happens all the time.

    not sure what accent has to do with race- once shared a flat with the most gorgeous black man who had the most amazing accent- sounded like prince charles. the looks on peoples faces when they met charles and saw what he looked like- mind you could just have been because he was stunning!!

    dont apologise any more. think the other nurse has some thinking to do!
  8. by   Nurse Ratched
    Absolutely not would I rewrite it. In fact, I'm quite sure I wouldn't have written the first one. You're a better woman than I am, Gwenith. Stick to your guns. I moved around quite a bit growing up and spent most of my childhood being the one that talked funny due to retaining some residual accent from whatever the last place was we had lived, and no one was being racist to remark on it.
  9. by   Tilleycs
    Is the person who got "offended" someone who plays the race card every time something happens that they don't like? Sometimes it seems like the same people play it, and they are just waiting for the next opportunity.
  10. by   CountrifiedRN
    I don't consider a remark about an accent racist, but it sounds like that nurse may have been having a bad day. If people frequently misunderstand her it must get frustrating, not that that's an excuse to call it racism.

    I think you were very gracious to write an apology, and I wouldn't change it either. You wrote it because you were concerned about her feelings, not because you felt what you said was wrong, so I think your phrase was appropriate.
  11. by   Jay-Jay
    So, how could you possibly be racist over the phone when you couldn't even SEE what the other person looked like??
    I'm hard of hearing, and have a TERRIBLE time understanding people with accents. I'll never forget the day an English gent walked up to me on the street and asked "Could you tell me where the shops are, please?" Wasn't just his accent but also the unfamiliar term...we call it a shopping plaza, or a mall. He must have been wondering if we both spoke the same language, after I'd asked him to repeat himself 3 or 4 times!

    I'd almost be tempted to say that nurse owes YOU an apology for her outburst. It really is painful to be accused of racism, or any other sort of P.C. incorrect bias!
  12. by   P_RN
    About 15 mnutes later one of my co-workers answers the phone- where are those tablets? Turns out I had sent them to the wrong ward. He states - "She must not have heard properly because of your accent" He came over to me and said he had made a similar error in the past, possibly with the same person because of her accent.
    Whoa, wasn't it the other nurse who answered the phone? Wasn't it the other nurse who said it must have been her accent?

    I ceratinly hope it's that she was having a bad day, because I don't see this as racist. If you had mocked her or goaded her on her language.....maybe. And I don't think I'd rewrite the note.
  13. by   Flynurse
    I agree with everyone on this. You weren't being racist. A mistake was made that ANYONE could have made. Wrong unit? Those ppl could have said, "no! we didn't ask for that." You could have forgotten what unit it was, and of course couldn't call them back. All sorts of things could have been a factor in this situation.

    You did what you could AND you apologized in many ways for something that you didn't even say! You have done all that you could and you are not a bad person for that. I hope the other nurse who took the phone call send that nurse an apology as well. And I hope that this person accepts your apologies!


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