Damned if You Care, Damned if You Can’t – The Healthcare Workers’ Reality

Even after more than a year and a half since the beginning of the pandemic, most healthcare workers are still having to fend for themselves. For the most part, healthcare workers are not receiving hazard pay, even though their working conditions are extremely dangerous and stressful. The best financial options out there are temporary jobs that pay relatively well but place workers in the most dangerous and unprotected conditions, where the pandemic is hitting the worst and staffing is extremely limited.

Most hospitals have failed to develop consistent testing programs that are readily accessible for staff. Even with an increase in the vaccination rate, the new variants have shown that the risk of transmission is still present; testing is a must for a healthy working environment. What could be more illogical than healthcare workers who cannot get access to the same services they provide their patients?

The chronic issue of understaffing continues as hospital administrators use budgetary excuses for why they don’t hire more staff. Despite the many studies proving that more staffing dramatically increases the positive outlook for patients, and the many organizing efforts from workers and unions, hospital administrators continue to cut costs by reducing staff, thereby endangering patients and workers.

Many healthcare workers are reaching their limits and seeking other job opportunities, creating an even worse cycle of understaffing. This is an unsustainable existence that people have been forced to accept. Most healthcare workers like many in other service and care industries play a particular role as caretakers and carry a lot of the burden of this dysfunctional society. The pandemic has just made all of this more glaringly obvious than usual. But even with the best intentions, we cannot heal a sick society one person at a time. The only way to have a healthy work environment – and a healthy society – is to get rid of this one and create a new one.