Do You Still Love Your Job… In Healthcare?
Do you find yourself:
- Working without breaks or time for lunch?
- Responsible for procedure times that are too short?
- With supplies or resources that are not adequate for your job?
- Being given inadequate time to shut down and disinfect equipment?
- Under management that does not listen?
- Unable to give the patient care the patient needs?
- Working alone in an unsafe environment?
- Supervised by someone who knows little about your job function?
- Feeling unappreciated and de-moralized?
- Seeing the quality of your work decrease?
I hope this list has nothing for you to check. In a perfect world, none of us would be able to claim any of the above. But the healthcare world shifted during the Covid-19 pandemic and healthcare workers found themselves in a new paradigm.
Disparity among the professionals in healthcare caused dissension as one group was treated differently from another. The groups went from being hailed as heroes to being treated rudely or with violence in the healthcare setting. As workload increased and safety concerns did not improve, professionals began to leave the acute care setting in record numbers. Many of the professionals who were working past or near retirement age left the field for safer work or retired completely. Nurses did not want to go to bedside nursing. Radiographers found they were encountering more than their share of Covid positive patients as the numbers of CT and lung imaging exploded. Echocardiographers switched to portables and stayed out of their departments in positive Covid rooms all their shifts. ED Physicians were under attack because patients demanded to be treated with some drug or treatment they read about on the internet. Everyone volunteered and filled in where they were needed. Everyone thought this was a short-term event and it would all be over soon.
We see that the Covid variants are decreasing as we approach the Spring and Summer. Hospitalization numbers and deaths are down. Life and work might return to some new normal. USA Today published a recent poll that says that 23% of workers are likely to leave the field soon, and 34% say they probably would not choose a healthcare career again.
The rip in the fabric of hospital relations may never mend. I have heard of hospital facilities who got it right and honored and appreciated their employees. I have witnessed more facilities who have a workforce who is disgruntled, bitter, and looking for a better place. Staffing shortages and workers seeking better working conditions will be the norm for the immediate future. If you found that you checked only one on our list of unacceptable working conditions and you genuinely care about your patients, you could burn out. Stop, slow down, and remember why and how you decided to make your service to your patients a priority.