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A Nurse Shares Six Reasons for Health Care Decline

Sally* has worked as a nurse in an operating room for more than 30 years. She’s seen horrors most of us can only imagine, gunshot victims, patients maimed beyond belief, the dead from failed surgeries carted off to the morgue.           

Right now, she’s witnessing the decline of American health care. That decline is taking place in the hospital where she works and is apparent from the stories she hears from traveling nurses in other hospitals.

I spoke with Sally on the phone the other day and she laid out the following reasons for this decline.           

Lack of Leadership

For several years now, and especially during the Wuhan virus, Sally has noticed the absence of leadership in her hospital. One hospital director spent most of her time Zooming with underlings from across the country. Another director has never bothered to meet his subordinates. A supervisor who has no training in management or people skills was more concerned with start times in the OR than with patient care. “They’re just filling a box,” Sally explained, meaning the organization running the hospital checks off a box as a position filled and moves on.           

Shortage of Supplies

“We’ve always run a little short of supplies,” Sally said, “but the pandemic exacerbated the situation. We’re even low on such items as drapes and gloves for surgery. A lot of these items come from overseas, from places like China or Mexico.”           

Shortage of Medicine

Here Sally cited a specific example: the lack of Marcaine with epinephrine, both particularly vital drugs for surgeries. “No one really explains why we’re having such trouble getting these medicines,” she said, “but the shortage is severe.” Once again, such drugs are mostly manufactured overseas.           

Shortage of Staff

Finding qualified personnel to work in the hospital proved difficult even before the pandemic. With many hospitals now demanding that their employees receive the virus vaccine, they are finding it even more difficult to retain doctors and nurses. “In my unit, we have 12 operating rooms,” Sally said. “Most of the time, we only have the staff to open 10 of these rooms. This means that the treatment of some patients must be delayed.”

Intellectual Takeout recently featured an article on Houston nurses who are leaving in droves rather than receive the required jab, and The Epoch Times has found that the shortage of health care workers across the country is skyrocketing, in large part because employers insist on the vaccine. Sally is among those California doctors and nurses publicly protesting vaccine mandates. To paraphrase a comment she made, the same caregivers who were hailed as heroes in the depths of the pandemic are now being given the boot for refusing the vaccine.                       

Training and Orientation

Sally reported that when she was in training 30 years ago her clinical instructors and mentors offered her solid and sometimes harsh guidance. Offer such critiques today, she said, and young students will complain that you’ve hurt their feelings. Moreover, the exposure of nursing students to units like surgery is much more limited these days. What she describes as her “boot camp” in medical care no longer exists.           

Morale

“It’s in the toilet,” Sally said. She stresses that she and her coworkers in the OR, doctors, nurses, and scrub techs, are generally good friends, eating lunches together and sometimes going out after work for a drink. But about a year ago the hospital administration began requiring quarterly meetings in which it divided staff into groups: blacks, whites, and Hispanics, to discuss racial issues.

As Sally pointed out, “Leadership has Balkanized people. We should be people taking care of people. Regarding these race-training sessions, my coworkers think, ‘I’m not here for that.’ We get people who just shot a police officer and we put that aside and save their lives. It doesn’t matter who they are. We don’t care. But leadership is making race an issue. What’s the point?”

Recently, Sally attended a fundraiser for a certain U.S. senator. During the Q&A period, she asked what he planned to do to help health care in America. He gave a formulaic reply about costs and benefits, but he missed her point. She wasn’t referring to finances, but to the actual care of the sick and injured. This nurse is deeply concerned about the care and protection of her patients. “I love what I do,” she told me. “I love taking care of patients.”

For the last 50 years or so, we have made health care an industry. That “industry” no longer regards patients as people in need of help but views them as widgets in a factory. Many nurses, doctors, and other care providers still know they are treating human beings, but the system itself has become impersonal, and far too expensive.

I am grateful for Sally’s willingness to speak to me. And thanks to other dedicated health care workers for what you do for your patients.

*Name has been changed at Sally’s request.

Jeff Minick

Jeff Minick

Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at jeffminick.com. He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.

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jc10fc
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As a retired primary school educator I was struck by Sally's comment concerning the health care "industry" treating patients like widgets. I cannot speak to that comment as an insider in that field, but, experientially as a user of medical services it appears to me that the insurance industry, pharmceutical industry, and, government are running the show starting with the insurance industry. Teachers are facing a parallel situation - regualtions are passed concerning curriculum, support services, and, so on, as if students are widgets on an assembly line. They are not. They are children who need to be undergirded and supported to achieve the most they are capable of doing. It would be a radical change in thinking should the policy makers give credence to the truth that people are not widgets, and, make decisons from that truth.
 
 

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nancyroah
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I agree wholeheartedly. At my hospital it's exactly the same. We also know we are being forced to document nearly everyone possible as a covid diagnosis. The doctors aren't in agreement either but we need the extra money so the administration insists on it. It didn't seem like a big deal at first but as the year went on, we are up to 90% or our patients being giving the diagnosis regardless of whether they have any flu like symptoms or just have an episode of hypertension or were a gunshot victim. As far as the vaccine they aren't pushing us too hard yet but if and when they do they will lose about half of the hospital staff. If they don't respect our safety then we want nothing to do with them. I hope they make the right choice.
 
 

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pmcclaren
People are HUMAN BEINGS. This is the only hey are cared for. Anyone who discriminates are carrying their orders from their father satan: lie and murder. Judgment Day is coming. John 3.3, 33-34 or Isaiah 66; those are your choices. You have a free will.
pacotheus
I have seen NO - NADA - push to diagnose covid. This is a lie of those who want to downplay the seriousness of the pandemic and prolong it for their own purposes of drama and manipulation.
pacotheus
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And what's the common denominator of most of these problems? It is the hellbent determination of govt and industry to cut costs because the marketplace has not been allowed to manage the allocation of scarce resources as with other industries. Related to this is the replacement of management that understands medicine - physicians especially - with ordinary/generic MBA's.
 
 

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mountainseagull
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Sally is wrong -- she's ignoring the major problems and just going myopic.
 
 

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nonviolentchristians
What major problems is she ignoring? What evidence do you have that the problems she suggest are not the real problems? How is she myopic?
Alecto
She's giving an opinion, and an informed one at that. There is no such thing as a wrong opinion. She is working on the front lines of hospital care. It doesn't bother me that she relates personal experiences. Why don't you offer some of your views on what would make healthcare better? I've got one: tax fast food. He he he!
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