At a doctors visit, I had a conversation with one of the nurses. We began talking about some of the crazy things she has experienced with her patients. After a story about gerbils dumbbells and kitty litter I was darn near speechless! Somehow I asked, “what do you do when people have communicable diseases?” I really wanted to know if she worried about contracting a disease? So I asked how she handled that situation. Her answer surprised me, she said, “I treat every person like they have AIDS.” I immediately got offended (and reverted back to Jr. High) and said, “I ain’t got no AIDS!!” After she finished laughing at my juvenile response, my nurse explained to me that she rarely knows the condition of her patient when she first meets them. Because of this, she uses the highest possible safeguards to assure not only her safety, but equal and fair treatment for all her patients. Then she told me to “get my panties out of a bunch!!” These safeguards are known as Universal Precautions. They are standards of operation and procedure that provide the best possible outcome for every interaction with a patient. We could learn a little something from the medical field.
Somewhere, someone in your family, neighborhood, church, or school is a History Moment waiting to happen. Wrapped in their curiosity is the cure for sickle-cell, an AIDS vaccine, or cure for cancer or scientific endeavor. Hidden behind their youthful energy is the next great film, novel, or song. Behind their passion is the next transcendent athlete or the will to move a nation past its past and lead it into its future. Because we don’t know which one it will be, we must treat each one with Universal Precautions. We must treat people with the highest possible respect to safeguard their self-esteem and value. We must treat everyone equally and fairly, not just for their benefit, but for ours as well.
Today, look a person (or yourself) in the eye and tell them you love them AND MEAN IT!! Ignore their current situation and tell them that they are a History Moment waiting to happen!! I don’t care if they are an honor student or a hustler! I don’t care if they are brown, yellow, Puerto Rican, or Haitian! Let’s begin to treat each other with Universal Precautions, because you never know when you will influence the next moment in history.
What are some universal precautions we can use when dealing with our peers? strangers? enemies? What are some common courtesies we should give to everyone?