It’s often easy to judge people. We see something from our point of view and pronounce our opinionated judgment. 

Sally is so self-centered. She comes in 10 to 15 minutes late every day, and we always have to cover her residents. Mike is so unfriendly, not a team player. He never speaks to anyone, just takes care of his assignment. LaTanya is such a crybaby. The minute you correct her on something, she bursts into tears. Frank so doesn’t care about his appearance. His scrubs are always wrinkled, and he sometimes needs a shave and smells bad. 

Come on, we’ve all met them: judgmental people who think they’re always right about everything, and everyone else is wrong. Having been a director of nursing myself, I can vouch that this is a position definitely vulnerable to this mindset.

Sometimes you do it with friends and think it’s funny and get a laugh. But when you’re on the receiving end, it’s not fun. When people judge me, I feel like saying, “I didn’t realize you were an expert on my life and how I should live it. Hold on while I take notes! I’ll pencil in some time to cry about it later.”

The stark truth is, you really don’t know anything about the “why” that person is behaving in a certain way. I’m sorry, what did you say? I hadn’t realized you’d received your Ph.D. from Know-It-All University. You’ve all heard it before. Don’t judge me until you’ve walked in my shoes (or a version of that.) The problem is, you’ve been looking through a narrow-focused lens.  It may be time to widen your view.

You were judging Sally for coming in late? Did you know that Sally’s daycare won’t let her drop off her baby until 7 a.m.?  Did you know she’s exceeding the speed limit to get to work as soon as possible. She is terrified she’s going to get a ticket, and she’s scared she’s going to be fired.

Mike is suffering from severe depression. His wife has stage 4 breast cancer. He is terrified of losing her and doesn’t know how he and their three children will manage without her.

LaTanya grew up with a verbally abusive mother who always made her feel worthless. When she is corrected at work, she takes it personally and thinks she is being told again how worthless she is.

Frank works two full-time nursing assistant jobs but because he’s trying to help support his mother and pay for her medications, he couldn’t pay his water bill. He has to go to a laundromat but can only afford it once a month and has to wash-up at the gas station by his home. Some days, when his one shift runs over, he doesn’t have time to get clean scrubs or go to a gas station to clean up.

Let’s face it; judging people doesn’t define who they are, it defines who you are. So, get out that wide angle lens and understand that there is more to meet the eye. No judging, OK? Unless you walked on water and parted a sea. Just saying.

Just keeping it real,

Nurse Jackie

The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, Senior Director of Clinical Innovation and Education for Mission Health Communities, LLC and an APEX Award of Excellence winner for Blog Writing. Vance is a real-life long-term care nurse. A nationally respected nurse educator and past national LTC Nurse Administrator of the Year, she also is an accomplished stand-up comedienne. The opinions supplied here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer or her professional affiliates.