It's only fair to share…

The interactions between humans will be as varied and different as there are varied and different people. Yet those in government and other assorted positions of authority seem to think that they can codify and second-guess the circumstances of every human interaction that goes on. This is generally justified on the basis that someone somewhere will take offence at something that is said.

The fact that there are nuances in human activity and relationships is lost on those who like regulations. Words spoken by one person may take on a completely different meaning and context if said by another. The context of what has gone before and indeed the nature of the relationship or interaction is what matters. This has always been so with human relationships.

However we live in strange times. The latest edict to come from on high is guidelines for nurses about “flirtatious” behavior. Apparently nurses are not to engage in “seductive” body language, which could be considered sexual assault.   It also bans “off color jokes” and “innuendo”. Like most of these guidelines it is addressing a problem that does not exist and treats professionals like idiots.

Whilst nurses on the Benny Hill show may have run around in short uniforms with suspenders on display it is not something you see in the average hospital.

To be honest the suggestion that nurses need to be told this should offend nurses everywhere.

Nurses chat with patients under their care and get to know them. The ability to banter and perhaps share a joke is part of that caring. Because of their personal knowledge of the patients they will be able to judge who likes a joke and who might not and when the time is right. Those in ivory towers writing guidelines have no such knowledge.

No doubt some nurse somewhere, sometime has transgressed and this was the spur for these guidelines, which are the usual, treat everyone like an idiot, rather than deal with the problem approach. Bureaucracies love this approach as it removes power from individuals and transfers it to departments.

Being in hospital can be a very dehumanizing experience. Good nursing care brings some humanity into the equation. Moves to have nurses watch every word they say lest some pencil head interprets it the wrong way will poison the human interactions, which are so important.

If this was not being seriously proposed it could be laughed off. Hopefully the nurses union will fight against this and common sense will prevail.

The authors of these guidelines have failed the common sense test