The U.S. women’s soccer team reported being “shocked and disappointed” by a federal judge’s dismissal in May of the team’s lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation.

The lawsuit alleged discriminatory pay practices by the federation between its men’s and women’s team, which seemed especially unfair because the women’s team was so successful compared to the men’s team. The U.S. women’s soccer team dominated the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament last summer, taking a record fourth World Cup title.

The U.S. men’s soccer team, on the other hand, failed to qualify for the World Cup in 2018.

On June 24, the federal judge denied the women’s team request to immediately appeal their equal pay claim. Members of the U.S. women’s soccer team are the first professional athletes in the United States to return to sports when the National Women’s Soccer League began its Challenge Cup on June 27.

I study employment discrimination and inclusion – and I wasn’t as surprised as the members of the women’s team. That’s because their claims were made under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Despite the purpose of the laws – protecting employees from discrimination in the workplace based on specific characteristics – both are particularly hard to use to prove pay discrimination.

The EPA rejects deviations in responsibilities – for example, the deviation in the women playing more games – and Title VII requires a “similarly situated” individual, or someone who has the same situation as the women soccer team but are paid better. These evidentiary requirements often work to undermine gender pay discrimination claims.

John F. Kennedy signs the Equal Pay Act into law. Abbie Rowe/JFK Presidential Library and Museum, CC BY
The history of women’s rights

Both the Equal Pay Act and Title VII evolved out of a conflict between women’s role in the workplace and women’s role in the family.

This year marks 100 years since the ratification of the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote. The suffrage movement is early evidence of the conflict between those who supported a role for women outside the home and the anti-suffragists who were concerned about the loss of privilege for women and elevated status of motherhood if they became embroiled in politics.

Similar concerns were expressed in the 1908 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court Muller v. Oregon. The court endorsed limiting the role of women in the workplace, emphasizing the protection of women for the larger purpose of preserving the “well‐being of the race.” As a result, states were permitted to enact a range of laws that restricted women’s ability to work outside the home in a way that men were not restricted.

Women did not voluntarily enter the workforce in large numbers until during World War II. When this happened, the prevailing policy of protective legislation drew more detractors.

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The idea of equal rights began to receive more attention as the language of the Equal Rights Amendment, originally drafted in 1923, gained additional support. The notion of equality for women in the workplace advanced in public policy discussions when President John F. Kennedy established the Commission on the Status of Woman in 1961, appointing Eleanor Roosevelt as the chairwoman.

The final report of the commission, often referred to as the Peterson Report after Esther Peterson, assistant secretary of labor and director of the U.S. Women’s Bureau, was published in 1963. Although the Peterson Report avoided the most controversial issue of the day, the Equal Rights Amendment, it nonetheless chose the path of moving away from protecting women’s position in the home as mothers and toward equality.

After documenting discrimination against women’s full participation in the workplace, the Peterson Report made several key recommendations, including equal employment opportunity, paid maternity leave and affordable childcare.

Equal pay for equal work

The Equal Pay Act, enacted in 1963, is the first federal legislation reflecting the equal employment opportunities advocated by the commission.

The EPA prohibits discrimination based on gender in wages paid for the same job. Determining when jobs are the same is often when it becomes difficult, as was the case in the U.S. women’s soccer team case.

As described in the law, “equal work” means “the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions.” For the soccer teams, collective bargaining agreements negotiated between the players’ associations and U.S. Soccer created significantly different pay structures with significantly different job requirements, such as number of games played.

Even absent the soccer teams’ collective bargaining agreements, the EPA has a number of exceptions to its equal pay mandate.

Exceptions to equal pay include, “a seniority system; a merit system; a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or a differential based on any other factor other than sex.” This final “any factor other than sex” is often used by courts to determine that the pay disparity between jobs is nondiscriminatory.

The U.S. women’s soccer team plays Mexico. Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images
Unequal pay as wage discrimination

Congress enacted Title VII in 1964 to address employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. Title VII continued the concept of equality to mean that of “sameness.”

To prove their claim of wage discrimination, the women’s soccer team had to identify men who were “similarly situated” to them but paid better, a “comparator” to show that their pay was discriminatory.

Since the men’s soccer team was determined by the court to not be “similarly situated” to the women’s soccer team in pay based on collective bargaining agreements and different requirements for games and friendlies – such as exhibition matches – the pay claim failed.

The judge allowed two claims of discrimination made by the women’s soccer team against their employer, the U.S. Soccer Federation, to continue to trial. The women’s team identified different treatment than the men’s team in travel conditions – specifically charter flights and hotel accommodations – and medical and training support.

What about now?

Though Congress adopted a path of equality in both the EPA and Title VII, in the decades that followed, “any factor other than sex” meant nonperformance-based factors such as differences in academic degrees led to dismissal of EPA claims and an inability to find the same or “similarly situated” individual – because of differences in supervisors, job evaluations or discipline records – became a barrier to equal pay under Title VII. This has allowed the gender pay gap to remain almost 60 years after the EPA and Title VII became law.

The gap is more pronounced for women who have children, often referred to as the “motherhood penalty.

I would argue that the focus on “sameness” in equality has failed to offer progress in building diversity and inclusion in organizations, including addressing the wage gap. A normative workplace is one that does not recognize differences in how someone can be successful.

All people are not the same and organizations that level the playing field offer different people different tools or support to succeed. A stand-up desk for one and a left handed workstation for another, for example.

Leveling the playing field generates equity. Given the evidentiary requirements of the EPA and Title VII, a level playing field has not happened through federal legislation but many organizations now promote a culture of equity.

The four-time World Cup champions U.S. women’s soccer team created renewed awareness about the intransigence of gender pay discrimination and the dismissal of its pay claim in the federal court highlights the limits of current legislation but should further the discussion of equity. This would mean avoiding one-size-fits-all workplaces and rewarding those who respond with dominating performances.

Source: The Conversation 

One of the famous herbal teas of all time is chamomile tea, and it comes with a lot of health benefits. It is an effective home remedy for various beauty and health issues. For quite a long time, it has been utilized far and wide as characteristic rest cures. Its quieting impacts might be credited to a cell reinforcement called apigenin, which is found in chamomile tea. Multiple studies have found chamomile to providevarious health benefits. However, here some reasons why you should drink chamomile tea.

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What is chamomile tea?

Chamomile is an herb related to chrysanthemum. The common species of chamomile are chamomillaRecutita and Chamaemelumnobile. Chamomile is known for its calming effect and often used to help people with sleep disorders. Nowadays, researchers are increasingly exploring its effectiveness in managing health issues, including cancer and diabetes. Aside from the benefits it offers, most people enjoy drinking chamomile tea.  According to research, a million cups of chamomile tea are consumed everyday all over the world.

What are the benefits of chamomile tea?
1. Helps to sleep and relax

Great rest is vital to our general wellbeing. Isn’t it? Chamomile tea is known for producing a relaxing effect and aid sleep. Many people are used to drinking a cup of chamomile tea before bedtime. This is because it soothes the nervous system so that you can sleep better. Chamomile tea is rich in flavonoids such as apigenin. Apigenin ties to specific receptors in your cerebrum that may diminish tension and start rest.

Studies have shown that chamomile does have calming and relaxing effects. A study on new mothers found that people who drank chamomile tea every day for two weeks slept better and had fewer depression symptoms than those who did not. You may try this for quality sleep. Do you drink chamomile tea before bedtime? If so, keep it up.

2. Helps to ease pain

It is good news that chamomile tea helped to relieve pain. It has an excellent analgesic effect on various kinds of pain caused by tension and a bad mood. Also, it can regulate the human nerves and calms the body system. Chamomile tea can be widely used in our daily lives. When you feel toothache, you can gargle with chamomile tea, which can significantly reduce your pain.

What’s more? Since chamomile is a mild natural herb, it is safe and suitable for everyone to drink at anytime. It is also used to relieve menstrual pain in women.

3. Cancer prevention

As we all know, cancer is a disease that seems difficult to treat. But living a healthy lifestyle can help us stay away from this disease. One habit that may help prevent cancer is drinking chamomile tea. A study found that people who drank chamomile tea two to six times a week had a 70% lower risk of thyroid abnormalities than other people. While those who regularly consume chamomile tea for 30 years in a row had an 80% lower risk.A good number of animal studies found that chamomile can slow down the growth of cancer cells and inhibit malignant tumors.

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4. Diabetes treatment and infection

For those who have or want to prevent diabetes and infection, chamomile tea is theright choice. The anti-oxidants present in it can boost your immune system, improving the body’s ability to fight against infection. The antibacterial effects of drinking chamomile can help to prevent or treat colds while protecting against bacteria-related illnesses and disease.

In other to reduce the intake of sugar, people often prefer tea rather than carbonated drinks. Chamomile is not only sugar-free but has other benefits it offers to diabetic patients. In an animal experiment, studies made it known that chamomile tea significantly reduced the blood sugar level of diabetic mice.

It also reduced the risk of diabetic complications, including diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage), cataracts, impaired vision, and kidney damage. However, chamomile tea regulates the amount of insulin that goes into the blood and lowers the blood sugar levels. Research shows that chamomile tea can inhibit blood glucose level, increase glycogen reserve of the liver, and improve hyperglycemia and diabetic complications.

5. Helps relieves muscle spasm and indigestion

Chamomile tea can improve your glycine level, which helps relieve muscle spasm. This helps chamomile tea can relax muscles and ease stomach discomfort. It can also help with poor digestion and irritable bowel syndrome.

Some studies have pointed out that in traditional medicine, chamomile is used to treat a variety of gastrointestinal diseases, including dyspepsia, spasm or colic, stomach discomfort, flatulence, ulcer, and gastrointestinal irritation. In particular, chamomile helps to eliminate gas in the body, soothe the stomach and relax the muscle that allows food to pass through the intestine.

6. Helps to relieve skin irritation

The soothing effect of chamomile is not limited to health issues. In the same way, chamomile tea can be applied to the skin. Chamomile tea has an anti-inflammatory effect and can also alleviate skin diseasessuch as sunburn and rashes. A study on eczema shows that chamomile works 60% as well as hydrocortisone cream. With its anti-inflammatory and anti-septic properties, chamomile helps in clearing up skin irritations such as eczema, acne, and allergies.

7. Aids wound healing

Chamomile is one of the best soothing herbs that help a wound heal because of its richness in bioflavonoids, such as apigenin, luteolin, and quercetin. It can be taken orally as brewed tea or applied on the affected skin surface as it can be made into an ointment for wound treatment.

For the record, Ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians use chamomile as a salve for wounds to expedite healing. Experiments on mice show that mice that drank chamomile water healed faster than other mice. It was also found that chamomile can promote complete wound healing more than corticosteroids.

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How to make chamomile tea?

It is convenient and easy to make chamomile tea. The simplest way is to soak chamomile tea in hot water, wait for a few minutes, and add honey. Then you are good to go!  But if you want to drink chamomile tea to prevent or treat diabetes, you don’t need to add honey or sugar either.

Conclusion

For centuries, people who have felt sick or stressed have taken chamomile tea as a medicinal cure. Chamomile tea helps with stress, fatigue, and other health issues. It eliminates not only the consequences but also the causes of lack of sleep. Despite the sedative effect, drinking chamomile is not addictive.

Written by Best Tea Supplier 

African economies are facing a COVID-19 induced crisis. Global demand for raw materials has collapsed. International tourism has virtually halted. And even wealthier governments on the continent have been unable to provide the financial support necessary to prop up their struggling sectors.

In response, African finance ministers in April asked creditors to reduce their debt repayments. Several economic leaders on the continent have similarly called for a two-year debt freeze and urged the IMF and World Bank to provide debt relief for low income countries. Among others, France’s President Emmanuel Macron has echoed these calls, saying “we must give African economies some breathing space”.

It is debatable, however, whether breathing space is what African economies need. Most governments’ economic responses to COVID-19 have been aimed at preserving the status quo and facilitating a return to normal. Yet that status quo – built on centuries of unequal global economic structures – has done little to promote prosperity in Africa.

However long a moratorium might last, it cannot be the solution to the current crisis. Rather, what is needed now more than ever is a pan-African campaign for the cancellation of debt repayments and for the continent to develop its own credit market.

COVID-19’s hit on African economies

Africa’s current economic crisis lies in the fact its economies remain fundamentally dependent on external financing. Remittances from the Global North accounted for over half of private capital flows to the continent in 2016. Foreign credit is almost always required to “invest” in developing natural resources. And key currencies such as the West African franc remain pegged to those of former colonists.

Moreover, Africa’s place in world economic structures is largely defined by foreign-led resource extraction. Raw materials make up more than three-quarters of Africa’s exports, meaning a drop in global demand affects the entire continent. This is exactly what has happened during the pandemic, leading to huge slowdowns.

South Africa, which produces 70% of the world’s platinum, suspended mining activities in late March. Angola’s diamond mining industry has dismissed large swathes of its workforce. And Guinea-Bissau, where 80% of jobs and 90% of the national budget are related to the cashew industry, is facing its lowest income in years despite expecting a high yield of cashews. Many more countries – such as Botswana, Burkina Faso, DRC, Ghana, Lesotho, Liberia, Namibia and Zimbabwe – have imposed serious restrictions on their own extraction activities.

None of this is new. Since the 16th century, Africa has been a place of both resource extraction – in the form of enslaved people, gold and minerals – and of external financing as European traders provided credit to their African counterparts to help finance the expansion of the Atlantic trade. These dynamics continued into the 19th and 20th centuries as colonialists financed a more intensive extraction of African crops and resources while setting unequal exchange rates. And they have been maintained in the post-colonial era as African elites move their wealth offshore and economies remain dependent on the global demand for natural resources.

The structural adjustment policies promoted by the IMF and World Bank following the 1970s oil crisis may have further entrenched African economies’ dependency on the export of raw materials. Meanwhile, large loans taken out recently may have increased African countries’ indebtedness to China. But these patterns simply replicate and build on the past 500 years.

A pan-African plan of action

The COVID-19 pandemic has, once again, exposed the structural problems at the heart of Africa’s place in the global economy. However, it also provides an opportunity to rethink a model that has failed the continent not just in this moment but for centuries. Rather than trying to return to normal – albeit with even greater debt and mass unemployment – African governments should take this rare chance to rebalance Africa’s relationship to global capital.

To do this, they could, firstly, seek not a moratorium on debt repayments but their cancellation. This would be a proportionate response given the size of the economic crisis. It would help African governments mobilise essential resources to support millions of people affected by economic and health impacts of the pandemic. It would be just given the tens of billions of dollars that leave the continent and end up in tax havens controlled by members of the G20. And it would hardly be unprecedented. There is a long history of debt cancellations in the West, including the forgiveness of French and German debt in 1934 and the abolition of Germany’s external debt in 1953.

Secondly, African governments could work together through the African Union and regional blocks to expand the continent’s credit facilities. The continent’s economies are struggling to access finance as external demand melts away and there is no sign of when it will return. In its place, however, a collective policy could be developed through pan-African banking systems such as Ecobank to “cash in” on capital held by members of the diaspora in the Global North. Each country could provide incentives to citizens overseas to hold their bank accounts in pan-African banking institutions as well as redoubling efforts to repatriate funds stored offshore. This in turn could help finance the expansion of credit lines across the continent as a whole.

Although they would be just a start, these twin policies of a debt cancellation campaign and increased credit – financed through the diaspora and pan-African banks – would bring money into African economies and significantly ameliorate the current crisis. In time, these policies could lead to an increase in credit for new local industries. But to happen, they require an urgent return to pan-Africanaction. It is only with collective political will that these steps can begin to free African economies from a cycle of dependence and offer the first move away from the unequal capital relationships which have dogged the continent for centuries.

Source: African Arguments 

Following several deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police, President Donald J. Trump issued an executive order on June 16 that calls for increased training and credentialing to reduce the use of excessive force by police.

The order did not mention the need for police to get a college education, even though higher education was identified in the 2015 President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing as one of six effective ways to reduce crime and build better relations between police and the communities they serve.

As researchers who specialize in crime and punishment, we see five reasons why police officers should be encouraged to pursue a college degree.

1. Less likely to use violence

Research shows that, overall, college-educated officers generate fewer citizen complaints. They are also terminated less frequently for misconduct and less likely to use force.

Regarding the use of force, officers who’ve graduated from college are almost 40% less likely to use force. Use of force is defined as actions that range from verbal threats to use force to actually using force that could cause physical harm.

College-educated officers are also less likely to shoot their guns. A study of officer-involved shootings from 1990 to 2004 found that college-educated police officers were almost 30% less likely to fire their weapons in the line of duty. Additionally, one study found that police departments that required at least a two-year degree for officers had a lower rate of officers assaulted by civilianscompared to departments that did not require college degrees.

Studies have found that a small proportion of police officers – about 5% – produce most citizen complaints, and officers with a two-year degree are about half as likely to be in the high-rate complaint group. Similarly, researchers have found that officers with at least a two-year degree were 40% less likely to lose their jobs due to misconduct.

2. More problem-oriented

The 2015 task force recommended community and problem-oriented policing strategies as ways to strengthen police-community relations and better respond to crime and other social problems. Problem-oriented policing is a proactive strategy to identify crime problems in communities. The strategy also calls for officers to analyze the underlying causes of crime, develop appropriate responses, and assess whether those responses are working. Similarly, community-oriented policing emphasizes building relationships with citizens to identify and respond to community crime problems. Research has found that when police departments use community-policing strategies, people are more satisfied with how police serve their communityand view them as more legitimate.

Community policing and problem-oriented policing require problem solving and creative thinking – skills that the college experience helps develop.

For example, internships and service-learning opportunities in college provide future police officers a chance to develop civic engagement skills. It also gives them the chance to get to know the communities they will police. Among students who participated in a criminal justice service-learning course working with young people in the community, 80% reported a changefrom stereotypical assumptions that all of them would be criminals to a better understanding of them as individuals with goals and potential – some not so different from the students’ own dreams. Almost 90% said they had come to understand the community, which they believed would serve them in their criminal justice careers.

Among street-level officers who have the most interaction with the public, having a bachelor’s degree significantly increases commitment to community policing. These officers tend to work more proactively with community members to resolve issues and prevent problems rather than only reacting to incidents when called.

3. Enables officers to better relate to the community

Higher education has been shown to enhance the technical training that police get in the academy or on the job.

For instance, as college students, aspiring or current police officers participate in internships, do community service or study abroad. All of these things have been shown to increase critical thinking, moral reasoning and openness to diversity. College also leads to more intercultural awareness. Taken together, all of these skills are essential for successful policework.

Research has also shown that police officers themselves recognize the value of a college degree. Among other things, they say a college education improves ethical decision-making skills, knowledge and understanding of the law and the courts, openness to diversity, and communication skills. In one study, officers with criminal justice degrees said their education helped them gain managerial skills.

4. Helps officers identify best practices

A college education helps officers become better at identifying quality information and scientific evidence. This in turn better enables them to more rigorously and regularly evaluate policies and practices adopted by their departments.

For example, many departments employ de-escalation tacticsthat aim to reduce use of force. A critical step in knowing whether an approach is achieving its intended goal is evaluating its impact. Officers who have an understanding of scientific methods, as taught in college, are better positioned to adjust their department’s policies.

5. Builds better leaders

Bringing about meaningful police reform requires transformational leadership. Higher education, including graduate degrees, can enhance the leadership potential of criminal justice professionals and support their promotion through the ranks.

Police officers with at least some college experience are more focused on promotion and expect to retire at a higher rank compared to officers with no college. It should come as little surprise, then, that police administrators, including police chiefs, are more likely to hold college and post-graduate degrees. Leaders with a graduate degree are twice as likely to be familiar with evidence-based policing, which uses research to guide effective policy and practice.

Higher education and police reform efforts are at a critical juncture.

Educated law enforcement professionals will be better equipped to lead much-needed reform efforts. State and local agencies and governments can do more to encourage officers to seek a college degree, including through incentives, like the Nebraska Law Enforcement Education Act, which allows for a partial tuition waiver or the Quinn Bill in Massachusetts, which provides scaled bonuses depending on the degree an officer holds or tuition reimbursement scholarships like those offered by the Fraternal Order of Police. Colleges and universities can help officers acquire the skills needed to help to reestablish trust between our communities and those who are sworn to protect and serve.

Source: The Conversation

Ernest Hemingway was affectionately called “Papa,” but what kind of dad was he?

In my role as Associate Editor of the Hemingway Letters Project, I spend my time investigating the approximately 6,000 letters sent by Hemingway, 85% of which are now being published for the first time in a multivolume series. The latest volume – the fifth – spans his letters from January 1932 through May 1934 and gives us an intimate look into Hemingway’s daily life, not only as a writer and a sportsman, but also as a father.

During this period, Hemingway explored the emotional depths of fatherhood in his fiction. But his letters show that parenting could be a distraction from what mattered most to him: his writing.

‘No alibis’ in the writing business

Hemingway had three sons. His oldest, John – nicknamed “Bumby” – was born to Ernest and his first wife, Hadley, when Ernest was 24 years old. He had Patrick and Gregory with his second wife, Pauline.

Hemingway initially approached fatherhood with some ambivalence. In her 1933 memoir “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas,” Gertrude Stein recalls that one evening Hemingway came to visit and “announced…with great bitterness” that he was “too young to be a father.”

As the fifth volume of letters opens in January 1932, Hemingway is trying to finish “Death in the Afternoon,” his nonfiction account of bullfighting, in a household with a six-week-old baby, a three-year-old who ingests ant poison and nearly dies, a wife still recovering from a C-section, along with all the quotidian problems of home ownership, from a leaky roof to faulty wiring.

Ernest Hemingway and Pauline Pfeiffer Hemingway, with Gregory, Patrick and Bumby in Key West, 1933. Princeton University Library, Author provided

Hemingway explained to his mother-in-law, Mary Pfeiffer, that if his latest book fell short, he couldn’t simply take readers aside and say, “But you ought to see what a big boy Gregory is…and you ought to see our wonderful water-work system and I go to church every Sunday and am a good father to my family or as good as I can be.”

There are “no alibis” in the writing business, Hemingway continued, and “a man is a fool” to allow anything, even family, to interrupt his work. “Taking refuge in domestic successes,” he added, “is merely a form of quitting.”

For Hemingway, work didn’t simply entail sitting at a desk and writing. It also included the various adventures he was famous for – the fishing, hunting, traveling and socializing with the people he met along the way. Though he would teach the boys to fish and shoot when they were older, when they were very young he didn’t hesitate to leave them with nannies or extended family for long stretches of time.

This separation was particularly hard on the youngest, Gregory, who, from a very young age, was left for months in the care of Ada Stern, a governess who lived up to her last name. Patrick sometimes joined his parents on their travels or stayed with other relatives. Bumby, the oldest, divided his time between his father and his mother in Paris. The children’s lives were so peripatetic that at the Letters Project we maintain a spreadsheet to keep track of their whereabouts at any given time.

‘Papa’ explores fathers and sons in his fiction

However, it would not be accurate to say that Hemingway did not care about his children. In the latest volume of letters, three are addressed to Patrick, two of them decorated with circled dots, a Hemingway family tradition called “toosies,” which represented kisses.

In his letters to his kids, Hemingway would sometimes draw dots called ‘toosies,’ which represented kisses. Princeton University Library, Author provided

In Hemingway’s fiction, we can see the depth of that paternal feeling, and in his letters, the domestic moments that inspired him.

In November 1932, with his two youngest sons ill with whooping cough and being cared for by their mother at their grandparents’ home in Arkansas, Hemingway postponed a trip to New York to stay in Key West with Bumby.

“He is a good kid and a good companion,” Hemingway wrote his editor, Maxwell Perkins, “but I do not want to drag him around the speakies [bars] too much.”

That same month Hemingway worked on the story of a father and son traveling together that would become “Fathers and Sons” in the collection “Winner Take Nothing.” It’s one of the only stories in which Nick Adams – a semi-autobiographical recurring character – is portrayed as a parent, and the reflective, melancholy piece was written just three years after Hemingway’s own father had died by suicide.

In the story, Nick is driving along a stretch of highway in the countryside with “his son asleep on the seat by his side” when he starts thinking about his father.

Nick recalls many details about him: his eyesight, good; his body odor, bad; his advice on hunting, wise; his advice about sex, unsound. He reflects on viewing his father’s face after the undertaker had made “certain dashingly executed repairs of doubtful artistic merit.”

Clarence Edmonds Hemingway and Ernest Hemingway in Oak Park, Illinois, circa 1917-1918. Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park/Oak Park Public Library, Oak Park, Illinois., Author provided

Nick is surprised when his son starts to speak to him because he “had felt quite alone” even though “this boy had been with him.” As if reading his father’s thoughts, the boy wonders, “What was it like, Papa, when you were a little boy and used to hunt with the Indians?’”

Hemingway’s letters show that another story in the collection, “A Day’s Wait,” was inspired by Bumby’s bout with influenza in the fall of 1932. It is a seemingly lighthearted story about a young boy’s misunderstanding of the differences between the centigrade and Fahrenheit scales of temperature. Like Bumby, the protagonist, “Schatz” – one of Bumby’s other nicknames, a term of endearment in German – attends school in France but is staying with his father when he becomes ill. Schatz had learned at school that no one can survive a temperature of 44 Celsius, so, unbeknownst to his father, he spends the day waiting to die of his fever of 102 Fahrenheit.

But there is more to this story than the twist. “You don’t have to stay in here with me, Papa, if it bothers you,” the boy tells him. “It doesn’t bother me,” his father replies. He unwittingly leaves his son to believe, for an entire day, not only that the boy is going to die, but that his death is of no importance to his father.

In this slight story – one of those stories he told Perkins was written “absolutely as they happen” – we find an unexpected Hemingway hero in the form of a nine-year-old boy who bravely faces death alone.

Though he once wrote that he wanted “Winner Take Nothing” to make “a picture of the whole world,” Hemingway also seemed to understand that no one ever truly knows the subjective experience of another, not even a father and son.

Source: The Conversation

In November 2018, Eran Moas basked under the Caribbean sun by an infinity pool stretching towards the horizon. The Israeli citizen was taking a much-needed break by holidaying in the Bahamas with his wife and children.

The beachside villa he rented did not come cheap at a cool $20,000 a day, but this expense was of little concern to Moas. His personal portfolio of properties includes a New York flat worth over $20 million, which he bought without a loan, and a Los Angeles villa worth over $12 million. His usual place of residence is a massive mansion in Cameroon’s capital of Yaoundé where he reportedly travels around in a bullet-proof car escorted by a team of bodyguards.

Moas enjoys this lifestyle thanks to his long-standing job with the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR), an elite unit of the Cameroonian army, as well as business ventures with the Cameroonian government. The BIR operates under the direct orders of President Paul Biya, who has been in power for 37 years. The Cameroonian battalion is known for the arduous training regime its soldiers go through and their access to superior weaponry.

The BIR is also notorious for its ruthlessness. Human rights organisations have documented extensive torture and arbitrary killings by the unit. One of its former soldiers told African Arguments that he personally witnessed two mass executions in the north of Cameroon in which a group of about ten victims were forced to dig their own graves, then told to lie in them before being shot dead.

The BIR’s actions have received particular attention since the Anglophone conflict began in 2016. In this uneven fight between government forces and poorly armed separatists, the unit has faced multiple accusations of burning villages, raping women, conducting extrajudicial killings and torture. These abuses prompted the US to cut some of its long-standing military aid to Cameroon in February 2019 and have been strongly condemned by the UN, European Union and others.

“The BIR is sort of Mr Biya’s private army because they are not answerable to the regular army chain of command,” explains Kah Walla, an opposition politician in Cameroon. “You have a dictatorial president, who has shown himself to be repressive [and] then created a private armed force. And, of course, this has increased the level of repression.”

Moas is not the only Israeli contractor to provide services to the BIR. An investigation by African Arguments, in partnership with Israel’s Channel 12, examined long-standing ties between certain Israeli citizens and President Biya’s elite forces. These links stretch from the 1980s up to today when the likes of Moas profit substantially from the relationship. The investigation found no evidence of direct links between these individuals and human rights violations.

A lavish lifestyle

Working with the BIR is a lucrative venture. The unit is well-funded and widely believed to be financed through an “off-budget” account of Cameroon’s national oil company. As such, its revenue could come indirectly from oil companies drilling in Cameroon. This includes several British firms such as one that struck a natural gas deal in 2018 worth £1.5 billion ($1.9 billion).

Israelis are involved in the training, command and supply of weapons to the BIR, although the corporate structures through which they operate are opaque. New soldiers are recruited for the unit every few years and are trained in batches of one to two thousand. After graduating, soldiers have been given Israeli-made assault rifles. One former BIR recruit, who graduated in 2015, says that about a hundred Israeli trainers spent three months in Cameroon training his cohort. The recruit says they told him they were each paid around $1,000 a day.

The arrangement appears to be all the more profitable for those at the top. Our investigation reveals that Moas has bought at least $32 million dollars-worth of property in New York, Los Angeles, Haifa and Yaoundé, much of it without a mortgage. He also lives a lavish lifestyle. He bought three $5,000 tickets to watch the Mayweather Jr. vs Pacquiao fight in May 2015 and his wife has been seen wearing a $60,000 diamond-encrusted Rolex.

Moas’ known real estate investments began in 2010 with the $1.6 million purchase of a Los Angeles villawith a pool, stunning views of the city and in-house cinema. He sold it for $2.7 million in 2014. In July 2015, he bought a flat in New York on the 49th floor of a glass skyscraper on Billionaires’ Row. It was purchased for $20 million through a shell company. This way of buying the property was likely intended to keep the purchase secret, but Moas’ name shows up on the firm’s tax filings which African Arguments obtained through a freedom of information request.

The following year, Moas bought a $12 million villa in Hidden Hills, an exclusive gated community in Los Angeles, according to Dirt.com (the article has since been removed). This property was also purchased through a shell company, whose address is listed as ”c/o Kohli & Partner”, a law firm based in Switzerland that was revealed in the Paradise Papers to represent various dubious clients.

None of this seems to have made much of a dent in the family’s budget. Later that year, they stayed in a villa at the Four Seasons Bahamas Ocean Club, costing around $20,000 per night. They returned the following year.

More recently, Moas’ ambitions seem to have gone beyond his job with the BIR. In April 2018, a mysterious company called Portsec SA obtained a $43 million contract to build security infrastructure around Cameroon’s port of Douala. The company is registered in Panama, a secrecy jurisdiction, and no owners are listed on its website, but two sources we talked to point to Moas as the person behind the deal. According to a document leaked to Cameroonian activist Boris Bertolt, Portsec obtained the contract via a “special tender” from the president’s office. The document is blurry, but the address for the company can be deciphered as “c/o Kohli & Partner”, the same Swiss lawyers Moas used for his Los Angeles purchase.

We could not trace a direct line between Moas’ Cameroonian interests and his real estate purchases, but he does not appear to have other significant sources of income. Called on his Cameroonian cell phone, he hung up after we introduced ourselves and he did not respond to questions sent to his Whatsapp account. The Port of Douala and the Kohli & Partner law firm didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment.

An historic relationship

Cameroon’s close links with Israel stretch back far before Moas entered the scene. They can be traced to 1984 and a failed coup. President Biya, who had been in power for just two years at the time was nearly toppled by his own army. He reportedly suspected that Cameroon’s former coloniser France had supported the attempted overthrow and thus looked for new partners to ensure his security.

He first turned to Israeli businessman Meir Meyuhas, a former secret agent working for Israel, and later Meir’s son Sami. The father and son had an exclusive license from Israel’s Ministry of Defence to negotiate arms deals with Cameroon. This particular arrangement ended in 2001, but the supply of Israeli arms into the country continued. Several sources told Efrat Lachter of Israel’s Channel 12 that the Mehuyas are still behind military exports to Cameroon.

We were not able to reach the Meyuhas for comment.

According to various BIR soldiers, each new recruit since 2009 has received a brand-new firearm produced by Israel Weapon Industries (IWI), an Israeli arms manufacturer. These have included ACE 21, Galil, and more recently Tavor assault rifles, which cost around $1,900 each. Israeli companies also provide the BIR with armed personnel carriers – such as the Saymar Musketeer and Thunder – and equip the Presidential Guard.

But Israel’s involvement in Cameroon’s armed forces go much deeper than just arms deals. In fact, an Israeli, Abraham Avi Sivan, created the BIR unit in 1999, initially under a different name. Sivan had formerly commanded several elite units in Israel’s army before pivoting to the private sector as Israel’s defence attaché to Cameroon. In his retirement from civil service, he trained and supervised Cameroon’s Presidential Guard and worked to establish the BIR under the command of Cameroon’s defence minister and President Biya himself.

In 2010, Sivan died in a helicopter crash near Yaoundé. Since then, the identities of his replacements have been carefully guarded, though various names – including likely fake ones such as “Maher Heretz” – circulated. One name in particular has been reported by various sources.

A former brigadier general

“General Erez Zuckerman was at the top,” said one former BIR soldier, who recalls hearing from colleagues that this man would replace Sivan around 2012. This account was confirmed by several others. “It’s like when a new president has taken power in [a] country; the name was circulating without even you seeing the person,” he added.

Zuckerman is a former brigadier general in the Israeli army. Unlike Sivan, his career did not end brilliantly. In the 2006 Lebanon War, his division made spectacular mistakes, leading him to resign in disgrace, saying “I have failed”. After quitting the army, his friends told reporters “he’ll probably run his family’s farm; they own a herd of cattle”. Instead, the former Israeli commander turned to the BIR.

The former BIR soldier says Zuckerman visited each of Cameroon’s military bases to introduce himself. He recalls that he first saw the new general in the Bakassi region, near the border with Nigeria. “He came with a helicopter in 2012,” he said. “By then we already knew who he was.”

The last time the soldier saw Zuckerman was in February 2018 at the military’s Salak base in northern Cameroon. “It was like an inspection to see how work is being done,” he said, explaining that Zuckerman gave orders to officers. The BIR has been shown to conduct torture at Salak, and the US has an ongoing investigation into the presence of its own soldiers at the base. Another soldier said that he saw him twice in Yaoundé in May 2019, including once at a military base.

Zuckerman admitted to African Arguments that he had worked as a military adviser in Cameroon but said he hasn’t returned there since 2017. He declined to respond to further questions.

At some point, Zuckerman appears to have handed over the lead to Eran Moas. By contrast to his predecessors, Moas wasn’t a career military man. When he arrived in Cameroon in 1998, he initially worked for the Israeli conglomerate Tadiran to maintain the communications systems of the army. He was later hired by the Cameroonian military directly.

In this role, he likely first worked under the supervision of Avi Sivan. In 2004, an Israeli journalist reported on his visit to an ape sanctuary near Yaoundé that had been established by Sivan and received“enormous support” from Moas. The reporter noted that Moas was driven around in “a jeep of the Cameroon army, chauffeured by a member of the Presidential Guard, who wears Israeli Paratroop wings and has on red Paratrooper boots”. He wrote that Moas was “known as captain or general in these parts”.

A controversial relationship

According to Israeli human rights lawyer Eitay Mack, who campaigns to increase transparency in Israel’s defence exports, the arrangement between the BIR and Israeli’s trainers is highly unusual.

“It’s a very rare situation that Israel is approving someone to conduct a unit,” he says. Mack explains that Moas, Zuckerman and their colleagues would need formal licences from the Israeli government for their work in Cameroon. Mack says it’s unlikely they would circumvent this requirement.

“Nobody is ready to violate [this rule] because it would be considered as a criminal security offence,” he says. “It’s like being a traitor…[Moas] is doing it with a license from the Israeli government for sure. He is not doing it on his own as a private citizen.”

The Israeli Embassy in Yaoundé directed us to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Israel. Their spokesperson said they would not comment, adding “we don’t have to give an explanation”. The Ministry of Defence refused to provide specific information but said that export licenses are “subject to constant scrutiny and periodic assessments by the senior echelons of the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Foreign Affairs”.

Mack believes the Israeli government’s position on the matter may be strategic. “Paul Biya is one of the most reliable friends of Israel in [the whole] African continent,” he says. “The payoff is [for Cameroon] to support Israel openly in international forums…Cameroon is an important part of helping Israel to get legitimacy…It’s all part of the geopolitical fight with the Palestinians.”

In March 2018, Mack filed a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court to cancel all export licenses to the BIR and freeze the awarding of new ones. The court ruled a few months later, but the judge issued a gag order which means Mack cannot share the outcome of the case. But according to one source within the BIR, most of the soldiers who graduated in 2019 were given Croatian rifles, not Israeli.

If Israel has stopped its defence exports to Cameroon, it would make any military training by Israeli citizens illegal too, according to Mack. It may be too little too late, however. “There are so many Israeli weapons over there, and the unit already [has] Israeli knowledge, so the effect [would be] limited,” he says.

For opposition figure Walla too, much damage has already been done. “It’s a very bizarre setup to have an armed force [with] a foreign national as a commander,” she says. “Even if these are private Israeli consultants, or they belong to private firms, most of them are former Israeli military officers…It places Israel in a position where, within the Cameroonian population, they are seen as part of this repressive force.”

Source: African Arguments 

Despite having to stay cautious to stop the propagation of the Covid-19, we also have to watch out for scammers who use this unstable situation for their own benefits to scam some cash out of Nottingham locals.

Criminals usually fake to be calling from the NHS to ask for personal and financial information or even fake to be Nottingham City Council officials in whom the victims trust and easily fall for the trick.

To stop this criminal act, the Citizen Advice organises their annual Scams Awareness Fortnight in order to help and educate people on how to spot a scammer and how to protect themselves and their loved ones from being played. The campaign runs for two weeks from 15-28 th of June, providing enough time for people learn about the tricks and what to do if they meet with these scammers.

On our Mojatu.com website we collected all the necessary resources that includes how to know if you are being scammed, how to get your money back after a scam, how to report a scam, and how to provide emotional support for those who have been tricked. These documents are not only important for those who wish to take an active role in the Scams Awareness Fortnight but for everyone who wants to be prepared when something bad like this happens to them.

Read more and check the updates on www.mojatu.com.

In January 2021, Kenya will replace South Africa as one of the three elected African members (A3) on the United Nations Security Council, joining Niger and Tunisia. Kenya was elected for the 2021-22 term, together with India, Ireland, Mexico and Norway.

Member states need to ensure the council’s responses to peace and security problems are relevant and effective. For Africa in particular, membership is an opportunity to showcase coherent leadership in the world’s most important decision-making organ.

Joining the Security Council isn’t an isolated act for any African member state, but rather part of an ongoing relay to ensure collective African interests are effectively addressed. In recent years, the A3 have shown that, when presenting unified positions, they are more influential on the council, especially on African matters.

African countries usually have their candidacy endorsed by the African Union (AU) summit. Historically this has been a fairly uncontroversial process. Based on continental rotation, South Africa’s replacement was due to come from East Africa. In August 2019, Kenya secured an endorsement by the AU’s Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC), the organ comprising all member state delegates to discuss day-to-day AU affairs.

Djibouti called on its links to the International Organisation of La Francophonie, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Arab League. By questioning the AU’s endorsement process, it had important supporters from the UN Security Council permanent members, the P5 and France in particular.

Kenya engaged with a wide range of countries from the Commonwealth, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe and the Pacific, often using the PRC endorsement as an entry point for its legitimacy argument. It seems this approach paid off.

Despite the controversy with Djibouti, Kenya comes to the council as a regional power that frequently champions peace and security initiatives in Africa. It previously served as the UN Peacebuilding Commission chair, and was a key African voice in the negotiations for the Sustainable Development Goals. Kenya’s success during its term will however be determined by how it crafts a relationship with the P5 and navigates complicated council dynamics.

During the campaign, both Kenya and Djibouti claimed they had China’s backing. China was expected to be more favourable to a Djibouti victory, being heavily influential in the Red Sea through its only overseas military base. However Kenya is also a relevant regional player, and a vital Chinese trading hub in Africa. So the extent of China’s influence in Kenya shouldn’t be underestimated.

There are many lessons that Kenya can learn from previous A3 members on how to maximise its term. A Security Council analyst in New York told ISS Today that the sooner it completes its staffing process in New York, the better. When South Africa joined the council in 2019, it struggled to get its house in order in a timely manner, so it had a slow start.

Joining the council as an observer from October 2020 should give Kenya the chance to learn, practise and craft partnerships. It can identify the division of labour in its mission early on, and find ways to quickly and effectively develop positions in Nairobi, Addis Ababa and New York.

Emerging countries often have smaller missions in New York, so Kenya will need to beef up its mission to the UN. It will also have to be clear on where to focus its attention through an effective internal division of labour and balanced positions.

Kenya is expected to continue the role played by South Africa, and previously by Ethiopia and Egypt, to foster A3 unity based on AU positions. However, recent examples already show the difficulties it will face. The A3 was divided in approving a new political mission in Sudan, which is billed to replace the UN-AU peace operation in Darfur. Kenya has a key role to play in ensuring that the strategic partnership between the AU and UN is sustained.

Kenya has been active in the UN Peacebuilding Commission, and is expected to be a champion for the sustaining peace agenda. This will be particularly relevant for Kenya’s immediate region, which should dominate its strategic engagements on the council.

Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Abyei are all key issues on the council. Kenya will likely be an active member regarding negotiations in these countries. It should ensure the council supports the Horn of Africa as the region tackles its long-term peace challenges.

Kenya shouldn’t join the Security Council just for global visibility or to pursue only its national positions. Rather the term should be seen as an opportunity for coordination among African stakeholders. The two years on the council are short, and while it may seem like a sprint, if countries work together, the relay can transform the term into a coordinated marathon. Working with past and current members is not a luxury; it is a necessity.

In preparing for its term, Kenya has a great opportunity to learn from current A3 members in setting up its internal decision making and staffing systems, and to develop positions on specific issues. This will confirm that African member states can become more influential on the council, and effectively contribute to sustainable peace and development on the continent.

Source: ISS Africa

We failed the people of Malawi when Africa, through its observers, gave the election of 21 May 2019 its blessing. We ought to have paid greater attention to what took place in that most important of activities in a democratic state – the exercising of the will of the people.

The African Union election observer mission reported that “the elections took place in a peaceful, transparent and orderly manner, and thus met national, regional, continental and international standards for democratic elections”. What a pity! We were not alone in our failure to properly observe that election. The missions of the European Union and Commonwealth also gave the faulty outcome their approval with minor misgivings.

Fortunately, the people of Malawi were saved by their courageous Constitutional Court. Its judges unanimously declared the election null and void and ordered that a new one be held. It insisted on a democratic outcome that would reflect the will of the people.

The Court found that the winner had been declared before less than a third of the results from the more than 5,000 polling stations had been certified by auditors. It also noted that there was widespread use of Tippex correction fluid to alter numbers on result sheets.

Judge Dingiswayo Madise rejected the electoral commission’s contention that another election would be too costly. “Democracy is expensive. Citizens’ rights are paramount. The court will not stop the pursuit of constitutionally sound elections on account of cost,” he said. We must salute the Court’s principled professionalism and integrity especially under extreme political pressure.

Getting it right…in a pandemic

The time is fast approaching for the Court’s remedy to be implemented in the form of fresh elections on 23 June 2020. While there was poor oversight by the international community last time, there is likely to be far less scrutiny this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which limits international travel and prevents close oversight at polling booths due to social distancing requirements.

This is deeply concerning. In the previous election, the European Union’s Election Observation Mission had 83 observers reporting from 342 polling stations in 27 of 28 districts. Yet it still failed to check electoral abuses or report the malpractices that led the Constitutional Court to annul the elections. There is a very grave apprehension that this second election may be as flawed as the first unless ways are found to shine the spotlight on voting along with result collation, transmission and declaration. But there are still steps that can be taken.

The world must monitor the Malawian election using the limited resources at its disposal. We must see to it that African country representatives with their Western counterparts in Malawi take steps to observe, gather, share information and verify allegations of abuses. Many African and Western countries continue to have diplomatic representation in Malawi despite the pandemic. These representatives should be prompted to step into a leading role in providing some independent verification of the free and fairness of the election. They and their staff ought to be deployed on the ground to observe the voting, tabulation, transmission and declaration process as closely as is possible under the circumstances.

To continent-wide democracy

The legitimacy and success of Malawi’s election is essential if we are to strengthen the movement towards democracy and legitimate governance on the African continent. What is of deep concern is that some governments carrying out elections during the coronavirus crisis may attempt to use the cover of the pandemic to strengthen authoritarian control and limit democratic participation. The blanket of isolation brought about by severely limited air travel has been compounded by restrictions on the movement of people, some of which are necessary, but some of which are excessive and have a chilling effect on public life.

The UN Secretary-General António Guterres has put it very strongly, saying: “We must act now to strengthen the immunity of our societies against the virus of hate”. With democracy short-circuited, frustration, despondency, despair will set in, leading to societal explosion. The UN was very concerned that the pandemic was stirring the stigmatisation of foreigners and that states were being overly aggressive in their security response and policing of the pandemic.

African leaders – and indeed global leaders – need to find ways to prevent the closing down of the democratic space lest we wake up after Covid-19 and find that our continent has slid back towards authoritarian governance. We should start by making sure that the Malawian election is free and fair, and that the result reflects the will of the people as an example of how democratic practices should unfold under this pandemic.

Source: African Arguments 

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses have been given unprecedented media attention for their daily, selfless sacrifices. Make no mistake: COVID-19 patients recover largely because of the nursing services they receive. Yet, hidden within the layers of care rendered by nurses are the psychological traumas they endure.

Now, as nurses are hailed as health care heroes during the pandemic, we’re faced with what to do about these psychological injuries, not only for the 4 million nurses in the U.S. – the largest health care workforce in America – but for the rest of us who depend on them.

For the past five years, I’ve examined the types of psychological trauma that nurses experience. Along with Dr. John Thompson, my co-author, I’ve described them in our 2019 book, prophetic as it was published six months before COVID-19 first appeared in China.

Prior to the pandemic, nurses faced ethical and personal safety dilemmas during disasters and other emergencies. They saw patients suffer, not only from illness itself, but because of health care interventions, otherwise known as medically induced trauma (think of a patient on a ventilator).

In a follow up study after the book was published, I dug deeper, collected information from nurses, and learned of yet another type of psychological injury: insufficient resource trauma. This occurs when nurses don’t have the staff, supplies, knowledge or access to other professionals to fulfill ethical or professional responsibilities. The pandemic has been a dark catalyst to seeing this urgent concern. In a survey of 32,000 nurses just completed by the American Nurses Association, 68% of nurses said they are worried about being short-staffed and 87% are very or somewhat afraid to go to work.

Demands for resources largely ignored for decades

A particularly big part of insufficient resource trauma comes from inadequate nurse staffing levels, which may lead to bad outcomes for both nurses and patients. The evidence for these outcomes, both compelling and consistent worldwide, is based on more than two decades of research. Having to forego what you know is right when there’s just not enough staffing in a high-stakes environment feels like a betrayal of one’s spirit. A nurse’s sense of morality, of what is right and wrong, is endangered.

Many traumatized nurses report symptoms of PTSD. Dean Mitchell/Getty Images

More recently, there has been a shortage of PPE (personal protective equipment) throughout U.S. hospitals. But I know nurses who were told by employers to take care of COVID-19 patients regardless of whether or not adequate PPE was available. Clearly this was a danger to both nurses and patients; surely this qualifies as a traumatizing experience.

Other nurses – some new, some working previously in non-acute care – have been deployed to critical care units. Understanding the technology of these complex environments requires a steep learning curve. The knowledge, then, to competently care for these patients may be considered an insufficient resource.

The toll on patients and nurses

Nurses, more than anything, strive to deliver high-quality care and connect with patients during their most vulnerable times. But often there isn’t the time. The inability to achieve that goal causes stress. Imagine being forced to choose between giving morning meds and sitting down with a patient newly diagnosed with cancer – or spending time with the family of a patient with COVID-19. Choices like that leave nurses focused on tasks and morally injured.

In my pre-pandemic study, traumatized nurses report symptoms of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder): intrusive thoughts, sleep disturbances, hypervigilance, “brain fog” and flashbacks. They felt unsafe, isolated and dissatisfied with the profession. As nurses, they felt like failures. One former bedside nurse quit, opting instead for office work, where her “level of trauma and stress is virtually nonexistent.”

Nurses in St. Paul, Minnesota, protest the lack of PPE equipment available during the COVID-19 pandemic. Getty Images/Education Images

Some traumas may be unavoidable. That happens when the nurse fully engages with the patient and co-experiences suffering. This is called secondary or vicarious trauma. That’s why we need to offer trauma-informed care to both nurse and patient. Meaningful connections with others is critical, but so is psychological safety.

The pandemic has focused our attention on the mental health needs of health care providers. Nursing organizations have responded, and these efforts are to be applauded. But until we appreciate the sovereignty of nurses, who practice in a way no other health provider does, solutions to avoid trauma will be stalled. And nurses will continue to struggle.

Compassion helps to heal

While I haven’t been at the bedside for a number of years, I still remember how it felt to report to the acute care center at the hospital, hoping no one had called in sick. When that happened, I was assigned an extra patient or two. I knew I couldn’t give the care I wanted to the paraplegic young man. I knew I couldn’t spend more time communicating with the older adult who had a sudden right-sided stroke. I couldn’t give them the things so important to healing – the physical care, the nursing presence and the compassion they needed and deserved.

Those experiences stay with you. It’s a heck of a feeling.

Nursing care is both an art and a science; it is a distinct profession that wields enormous influence on those who need the most help. They do not merely follow instructions from other providers. It’s a beautiful profession, unlike any other, founded on intellect, judgment and a caring spirit. It pushes a person to examine values such as social justice and the ethics of life, and it becomes a part of who a nurse is.

Until all of us see nursing this way – and until organizations provide sufficient resources to prevent avoidable trauma, which will allow nurses to provide safe, quality care – nurses will continue to suffer. More will choose to leave the profession. Particularly now, that’s a loss society can’t afford.

Source: The Conversation