In between cable news interviews and performing TikTok dance routines, health care workers have also started protesting, and it raises the question: When do all these people do their actual jobs and, you know, provide health care?
To be sure, not all, nor perhaps even most of them, are spending their days whining to CNN about how tough their jobs have become and how frustrating it is that their hospital beds are full. But it’s a lot.
A group of 75 doctors in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, briefly staged a walk-out protest on Monday because they’re tired and resentful of patients who have declined to receive a vaccination shot against COVID. One of them, JT Snarski (Yes, that’s her real name), wasn’t too tired, though, to be on standby for MSNBC, telling a reporter in an interview that it was “incredibly frustrating” to see others dispute the safety of vaccines.
“We are exhausted,” another doctor said at a podium set up for the protest.
I’m sure. And I’m sure it’s also frustrating for doctors to treat opioid addicts who keep returning to the emergency room, wasting untold resources that could be put to better use. Yet health care providers have managed to deal with that day in and day out for years without needing to post crying selfies on social media.
That’s what Adam Hill, a doctor at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, did last week on Twitter. “Hi. I’m a healthcare worker crying at the hospital,” he wrote. “It’s important to show more of this.” Included with the post was a picture Hill took with his surgical mask pulled down and a solitary tear streaking down the side of his face.
Hi. I’m a healthcare worker crying at the hospital. It’s important to show more of this. pic.twitter.com/iw0bHBFrn4
— Adam B. Hill, M.D. (@Adamhill1212) August 17, 2021
The tweet was shared 13,000 times and received nearly 99,000 “likes.” (Hill then went to give an interview to a local TV news channel, which noted that he “doesn’t typically care for COVID patients.”)
Powerful! Though I’m not sure how much “more of this” we really need to see. It’s everywhere.
Earlier this month another woman, nurse Felicia Croft of Shreveport, Louisiana, recorded a three-minute video on the verge of a breakdown because she has been experiencing “the feeling of defeat” in losing patients who succumb to the virus.
In November last year, nurse Kathryn Sherman of Nashville posted a type of “before and after” set of photos on Twitter, one that was taken professionally when she was a nursing student and the other, a selfie in hospital lighting, appearing haggard during a shift in the intensive care unit. “How it started, How it’s going,” her caption said.
We get it. The job is hard.
That’s why the Bureau of Labor Statistics has doctors and surgeons averaging earnings above $200,000 per year. Registered nurses are at more than $75,000 per year. This isn’t charity work.
It’s true that some hospital systems are overwhelmed with COVID patients who have not received a vaccine, perhaps by choice, but plenty of people get sick and die through their personal choices. Getting them not to die anyway is a health care provider’s role, one they signed up for. Yet some providers are musing aloud, in the New York Times no less, about declining care for the unvaccinated.
These people are quickly becoming the new public school teachers who expect constant attention for choosing a certain career path. Teacher appreciation month! Thank a teacher! Give a teacher something for free! Maybe they should trade places for a day with a garbage collector or even just a flight attendant.
Being a health care provider is just like plenty of other jobs. Some days are harder than others. We happen to be in a pandemic, which is the best time for doctors and nurses to shine, not whine.