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The Washington Post: A response.

In coming across this article, I could not help but share my truth with its author. I don't understand how healthcare administrators remain "miffed" as to what is broken within the system. It isn't about the pay. It's about morality & refusing to accept being continually exploited & abused. There comes a point where one can no longer be bought. Where the risk/reward becomes a calculation of how long can you take it? Can you withstand 12 weeks in the storm to be freed of it for the remaining 40? Perhaps. Does the head space of not feeling owned provide respite? Absolutely.

Through every difficult patient case my coworkers have always been an unending source of support. They know the details of traumatic experiences like none other and exactly what you need to survive: mentally, emotionally, and sometimes physically. The right thing to say, forgiveness & self-compassion, a night out dancing and a drink, or simply a hug and sympathetic ear. The beginning of the pandemic was no different: Tik Tok videos both hilarious and inspiring, reassurance & hugs, pep-talks and the outpouring of energy into productive means such as reorganizing workflows & troubleshooting. Eventually, the normal comraderie was replaced by whispers, segregation, and both the outspoken judgement of others as well as the stifling of intellect.

The pandemic initially brought us closer - hell, I didn't see anyone else for months: even those in my inner circle weren't up to risking exposure to me or my children. However, the politics involved then drove our close knit unit apart. As each person's personal beliefs and risk tolerance began to fall in different areas of the spectrum, the middle ground no longer existed and coworkers stopped giving eachother grace. Stopped being supportive of eachother, stopped understanding, and then stopped communicating. It would be a safe bet to say that 80% of my coworkers in the urgent care left including supervisors (but that position has a revolving door even in normal times). Our normal source of strength - eachother - also became defunct.

Rebecca N. 4:34 AM (8 hours ago) to leonard.bernstein

Hello Leonard, My name is Rebecca N. and I am a registered nurse. I read your article about nurses leaving staff jobs to take travel nursing jobs, and agree that there are fundamental problems plaguing healthcare. This is why I left: Healthcare has lost its moral compass. This is what healthcare administrators should worry about. This is what they need to fix. Healthcare workers, nurses, give of our hearts - of ourselves. This is what we do and healthcare corporations profit. They not only take advantage of patients who are ill, injured, or in search of hope, but they also take advantage of us. They exploit our compassion for others, our loyalty to our teammates to the point that they convince us to feel guilt when torn between caring for our family vs caring for our patients/team. They take everything that they can and treat us as expendable, our families as less important than their pocketbooks. When you manage human assets, you must treat them humanely. The failures, the unethical treatment, emotional abuse and threats were exacerbations of what we allowed during "business as normal." Just as the vaccine mandate, which we did not protest when they did it for influenza. The mandate, for all of us (healthcare & other employers), is about money. It is the government threatening to withhold federal funding. The moral compass does not stop spinning with us. How does it make patients feel when their doctor barely looks them in the eye because they are being pressured to reduce the time spent in the room with patients? How good can a physical exam possibly be if a provider does not even lay their stethoscope on your skin? How does an MD with 3 years of experience feel so burned out at the impossibility of primary care that they are grateful for their child's autism? Thankful that their child does not have an attachment to them, therefore is not missing them when they are at the office from 8am to midnight 5 days per week attempting to get everything done.

Family nurse practitioner students - STUDENTS - are pressured to reduce the amount of time spent with patients as well, with a goal of seeing 1 patient every 15 minutes because, according to my assistant dean, you have to see more people in order to pay for your staff. Neither the complexity of the patient, their lack of knowledge or need for education, their mental health needs, your needs as a student to ask further questions - to learn, or the patient's humanity itself should allow for more time.

When a nurse is physically and sexually assaulted on the job - in an exam room by a patient - and not a single change is made to improve the safety of the environment: cameras, security personnel, additional staff in the department, parking lot lighting, position in the exam room with an escape route, or even counseling. Instead, she is faced with behavior contracts, continued retraumatizing by work comp investigators, occupational health recommendations that go disregarded, safety evaluations unperformed, and judgment by coworkers. It is her integrity, her moral compass, her strength, that pursues change within the establishment so that others do not need to suffer the same fate or worse. When healthcare corporations bury millions at the end of their fiscal year so as to remain "non-profit" has lost its moral compass. If they can find it again...if they can repair the wounds and rebuild in alignment with integrity...then the shortage will ease. Many consider it better to work for a few months under the corporate thumb than to be continually broken. I'm not sure if I will ever return...but I do know that I want to ignite the transformation. In love and light, Rebecca

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