Wali Khan, (@wali_khann), Trauma Nurse
"I think one of the biggest issues that come with being a medical professional is how do you continue, despite seeing the same thing over and over again? You see people shot. You see people stabbed. You see people in traumatic arrest. Their hearts stopping. People dying. Family members crying. People screaming that they're in pain every day over, and over, and over again for twelve hours, and then again for twelve hours, and then again for twelve hours.
An unspoken reality of the medical community is that we become desensitized. We literally become numb to where we're no longer seeing human beings suffering. We're just seeing a monotonous thing that I do at work. I've got fifty people screaming, "I'm in pain." Are you really hearing each individual scream for pain, or are you just like, "Okay, they're there. I'm hearing sounds. I have to do this because it's my job"?
A lot of people that I speak to they'll tell me, "I'm numb, I see this so much that I don't really-- It doesn't really bother me anymore." I like to think otherwise. On the contrary, I choose to feel, because I feel that if I'm able to feel the pain of someone else-- I was at one point in pain. I did have my spine cut open twice. I did have surgery, and I know how excruciating it is to have something that you love like your ability to walk and use your body taken away from you."
"Male nursing... It almost makes you laugh because of all of the connotations that are associated with it, right? Let's just look at me for a second. Brown male. Male. Automatically, in the hospital setting, I am always, always mistaken for as a doctor, right? A large portion of the time, a large majority if you are from Pakistan, or if you're from India, and if you're from those regions, you're a doctor. That's just the cultural baggage that comes along.
If you are not a doctor, then you’re a failure because that’s how it’s looked at. Because being a medical doctor, M.D. is the highest level of achievement that you can have, supposedly, for some people. Being a doctor brings force with it so many things like nobility. Being a doctor's the most noble profession that you can have. That’s what people think. It brings with it financial security. You want to make a six-figure salary? Become a doctor. You want to help people? Become a doctor but that's of the secondary. What was always associated with being a doctor is, “You'll be financially stable for the rest of your life. You and your family can have a good life and X, Y and Z”, but never what you can do for people.
There needs to be a paradigm shift and I think we’re in the process of that right now where we’re beginning to educate more not just by our words for by our actions. That, “Hey, I am a male. Hey, I am from a specific community which is known for having a certain connotation associated with it but I'm choosing to be different because I can and it's okay, because I can still serve human beings, I can still be financially stable, I can still pursue a higher education being a specific gender and it doesn't matter because we don't need to live by stereotypes anymore. That's the thing of the past. Stereotypes are for people that are uneducated because they are too lazy to go form an opinion based on facts and education. We were not of those anymore.
That is the change that needs to happen that, “Hey, listen. Because I walk into your room and I am not a doctor, I can still listen to you. I can still care for you in a manner in which a doctor can't. This is no disrespect to doctors because they fulfill a role, all on their own. They’re part of the interdisciplinary team. They have a roll and they have a place in medicine, which is theirs. Just as nurses have a role in medicine which is theirs. Just as pharmacists have a role, a dietitian has a role, the physical therapy and occupational therapist has a role. All of us, comprised of the medical team. The social worker, right to transportation. The people that bring us food. The people that clean our rooms. They’re equivalently as important of the medical team.