Good Luck

Good Luck

These were the words of a health care professional when told of an upcoming surgery. After further query, the answer is health care professionals are tired, there are fewer of them, and they are being asked to manage unrealistic workloads. In short, they are burned out.

In many cases, health care workers are much better paid than other professionals. Most are smug when compensation is mentioned, but many will tell you they earn every dollar. I try to avoid doctors and hospitals, but the nurses I have been around are professional, but many don’t apply the training they receive (and many have the bedside manner of Nurse Ratchet). In many cases, this is not their fault. Much like an airline pilot, you don’t really need someone with their expertise …..  until you do, and when it is needed, it’s need is immediate.

Does society need a nurse to take my blood pressure, weight, height, and make notes for a doctor? A nurses’ notes may be more succinct, but why pay someone $25-40 an hour to do something someone with a couple of weeks of training could accomplish? The health care industry is a model of inefficiency and redundancy. Much of this is a product of our litigious society and inept law/policy creation. Some of it has to do with too few people demanding anything be done differently.

Back when Covid was all the rage, few nurses spoke out against the insanity, and inconsistent practices, installed by their employers. I get it, they want to keep their job, but they are not the only people who were asked to go “above and beyond”. I have always been sympathetic to the Walmart worker who showed up every day and breathed the same air as those infected masses. At the beginning, long before the plexiglass and mask mandates, they were in the trenches every day. Most of them are not well paid and to miss a shift could mean the difference between eating, or not. They can’t afford to be burned out or they will starve.

How about teachers? While I think many should be publicly flogged, many continue to fight the good fight. They weathered the switch to Zoom and tried to engage students, some who lacked a decent (if any) internet connection. The managed the hybrid model, half in person and half Zoom. This brings different meaning to “only half there” euphemism. Unhappy parents, disengaged students, smug administrators, clueless school boards and technological challenges well outside their job descriptions. Many of these folks are not well paid, like their Walmart compatriots.

When I hear about EMS being “burned out”, it makes me mad. They are not the only ones working hard. Arguably, they are the best paid of the bunch and based on demand have the easiest time moving jobs. Just as in many industries, health care needs to take a hard look at the “administrative” staff and start trimming from the top down. Until lawmakers start changing health reimbursement policy, the only goal is to squeeze the turnip until no blood is left. If a few folks get burned out along the way, it is ok, we will just hire more. I worry less about EMS and more about the lesser paid worker. At least EMS is paid a living wage, that is not always the case with other professions.

Policy changes are desperately needed.

Categorized as Policy

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