Just out from four days in the hospital. During that time, I was under the care of a total of eight nurses. Five of them were wonderful. Two of them were incompetent. One of those two meant well, and was suffering only from inexperience. The other I suspect did not have nursing in her. She saw only things she had to do, not a human needing care. The fact of a human being there was clearly an annoyance.
And one of them was a sadist. A night nurse, of course.
I do not mean that humorously, and I do not mean it as hyperbole. It is simply an observation. Every little thing she was called to do, she did in such a way as to cause maximum inconvenience and, if possible, pain. She spoke only in one- or two-word commands. A couple of times, I felt it necessary to push her away physically. It was subtle, of course; she did not want to lose her job.
We should expect this. If you are a sadist, what profession is going to be most attractive? Maybe prison guard, if you're a man. But few other jobs give you a greater opportunity at gratuitous infliction of pain on the defenseless than nursing. I'm guessing one nurse in eight a sadist is quite a plausible proportion. It seems lower than the proportion of bullies among teachers.
But the bigger problem is that we have no apparent awareness of this issue. Nor do we have any structures in place to prevent it.