University of Southern California Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Speaking Up for Yourself

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Speaking Up for Yourself

Man with megaphone

You need to speak up for yourself to get what you need

Some people don't like to speak up for themselves. Here are some reasons:

  • It might seem selfish.
    • Alley was in the hospital because of a pressure ulcer (which is what a doctor or nurse calls a pressure sore or bedsore). She didn't want to ask the nurses for help. Here is what she said:

      "The nurses are too busy. I don't like to bother them. They have more important things to do."

    • There is an interesting part of this story. Alley worked for free for a group that helped people with disabilities! She was happy to speak up for others. Maybe she thought speaking up for herself was selfish.
  • They don't like to "make waves."
  • They don't want to get anyone in trouble.
  • They don't want to make anyone mad.

It is very important to take care of your health. It is a good idea to do everything you can to take care of your health!

Sometimes you can see that there is a problem with your health. You have to tell someone when you have a problem. You have to tell someone when you need help.

Speaking up for yourself is not being selfish! It is not selfish because your health is so important.

Brenda had to have surgery.

  • Brenda had to have a medical test called an MRI. She had to wait eight hours for the MRI.
  • Brenda stayed on a steel table while she waited.
  • Brenda got a red spot on her skin from staying on the table too long.
  • Brenda told her doctor about this problem later. The doctor was very sorry.
  • Brenda learned a lesson, too.
    • She learned to tell people there is a problem right away.
    • Maybe someone could have moved her if Brenda had said she was on the steel table too long.
  • Brenda learned another lesson.
    • She did not complain about little things.
    • She only told the nurses and doctors about important things.
    • That way, they really listened when Brenda spoke up.

Howard had some very bad problems. He was in a city hospital.

  • For 12 hours, Howard was very sick. He couldn't breathe or make bowel movements. He threw up green liquid.
  • The nurses did not call the doctor!
  • No one spoke up for Howard.
  • Howard's sister Zoe came to visit him. She got very worried.
  • She screamed for help!
  • The doctors came to Howard when Zoe screamed. They moved him to the intensive care unit (ICU).
  • He got help when someone spoke up for him.
  • The story ended with sadness.
    • It was too late to help Howard. He had a heart attack when he was in ICU. He died.

You have to watch out for yourself. You have to speak up for yourself.