October 11, 2018
As a traveler, I am constantly meeting new people. Names are a challenge. Because you are the new person, most people learn your name quickly. I try hard to make a point of learning everyone’s name as soon as possible. The more time that lapses, the more difficult it becomes to ask! If I take someone’s phone number, I try to put a picture, title and place along with their name. First impressions are paramount. It’s what makes the first few weeks into a new assignment so stressful. However, after doing this repeatedly, it comes easier. Your brain puts people into groups, i.e.; CRNA student, new graduate, experienced anesthesia practitioner and those new to the practice. This can be very helpful in quickly ascertaining were a person is coming from and how best to work with them. However, it can also lead to assumptions that may or may not be true.
Assumptions about travelers are common. Like gypsies, travelers are often viewed as outsiders. Different. People tend to embrace those similar to them and shun those who are different. We may label this, “human nature”. However, in truth, how different is this from prejudice? Recently, a CRNA commented “You’re a traveler, you make more money then me.” I was hurt. Not because she was neither right nor wrong, but because she made the assumptions about me, without all the facts. Another, common assumption about travelers is that they “can’t hold down a job”. True, most people are not bold enough to say this to your face. It is an uphill battle to try and change the culture of prejudice but it is also a noble endeavor.
The traveler’s life is not an easy one. However, when you create change for yourself and others, through practice of diversity, life becomes full.