COVID the Career Buster – Thoughts?

By Harold Stearley At Earthwalking

So, I’ve kept my articles that might be classified as political to a minimum, because, let’s face it, people are pretty wound up now days about politics and not speaking very objectively. COVID, however should have never become politicized as it is a public health issue. Nevertheless, people have become polarized over this disease, while many many, many, many bodies pile up.

I was on LinkedIn the other day and a fellow RN had posted that she was seriously considering changing her career because of the stress of yet another wave of full ICUs, all COVID patients, and most beds filled with the unvaccinated. Beside patient census and acuity, she’s dealing with short staffing, and with just plain witnessing too much death.

Most of the replies were very supportive, but a few went off the rails in my view and actually started attacking her. The attacks accused her of abandoning her chosen profession and with providing inferior care to patients that were unvaccinated. Now nowhere in her post did she say she was delivering different or an inferior quality of care to any class of patients so those comments came from nowhere other than bizarrioland.

As for abandoning her career, I mean anyone can change a career or job at any point in time. Who’s business is that? Only the person who is changing their source of livelihood.

One gentleman tried to make a comparison to his military career, saying he fought for his country and would never abandon his fellow soldiers. Ok, so? That’s not apples to apples at all. That’s strawberries to hand-grenades.

So what do you think? Should we be trying to dictate people’s career choices? Should we deny there is such a thing as burn out and force people who have RN degrees back into service? I hope not because I’m an RN and I’m happily retired. I’m also an attorney so don’t start talking about rights unless you’ve consulted one or actually know something about Constitutional Law 🙂

Thoughts? Perspectives? Fire away. I can dodge bullets pretty well.

In Metta

Feature Photo: I chose one of my wildflower pics for this post. A field of Red Poppies lines this road in Washington State. I enameled them to make them look more like an oil painting.

Flowers are always soothing and the poppy has been symbolically associated with military veterans – specifically the sacrifice made by those who served and died in all of our wars. It does seem like we’re at war right now. With a disease and with each other.

I wish everyone peace.

And here are a few articles for fun:

Where are Hospitals Overwhelmed by COVID-19 Patients? Look Up Your State

Nurse Workforce Decline During COVID ‘Unprecedented’: Study

Almost All U.S. COVID-19 Deaths Now in the Unvaccinated

Covid-19: US surpasses 800,000 pandemic deaths

Published15 December 2021 BBC News

A man in a mask walks among flags representing those that died from Covid
Image caption, White flags represent each life lost in the US to Covid

More than 800,000 Americans have now died from the coronavirus, the highest recorded national death toll from the global pandemic.

It comes as the US reached 50 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 on Monday.

Most deaths have been recorded among the unvaccinated and the elderly, and more Americans died in 2021 than in 2020.

The US is again seeing deaths rising at an alarming rate.

The last 100,000 deaths came in just the past 11 weeks, a quicker pace than any at other point aside from last winter’s surge.

“The waves of illness that we’re seeing will continue until the population-level immunity is high enough to prevent them. Quite simply, we’re not there yet,” said Dr Keri Althoff, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

It has been more than 650 days since the first American patient dying from Covid-19 was reported in Seattle, Washington (public health officials have since attributed earlier deaths to the virus).

Since the Pfizer vaccine – the first jab to be approved in the US – was rolled out last winter, nearly 300,000 more fatalities have been recorded.

Graphic

In April 2021, two more vaccines – Moderna and single-dose Johnson & Johnson – were approved, and all three vaccines were made available to adults of all ages.

The 800,000 total exceeds the populations of cities such as Boston or Washington DC. The milestone means nearly twice as many Americans have died during the pandemic as in World War 2.

The US death toll far exceeds the official tally of any other country, but experts believe many recorded death counts are under-reporting the true scale of the tragedy.

The next highest are Brazil, with more than 616,000 deaths, and India, which has had over 475,000 deaths.

In terms of deaths per capita, the US currently ranks 20th in the world, trailing several South American and European countries, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Each country in the chart below – except the UK – was initially slower to roll out vaccines than the US. Vaccinations levels in all have since surpassed the US where 61.6% of the population is fully vaccinated.

Reported deaths in selected countries

Deaths from Covid-19 have come in three main waves.

The first – which hit New York City especially hard – peaked in April 2020, before lower rates of infection in the summer and autumn.

A massive spike then occurred last winter after people had travelled and gathered during the holiday season. At its peak in January 2021, more than 3,000 deaths were confirmed a day.

Daily reported Covid-19 deaths in the US

The number of deaths fell significantly last spring as vaccines became widely available, but it soared again by July and through the summer as the highly contagious Delta variant spread.

The elderly have always been the most vulnerable, and despite being the most vaccinated group one in 100 Americans over the age of 65 has died during the pandemic.

Breakthrough cases aside, unvaccinated Americans have made up the vast majority of deaths over the past few months (trends identified in the chart below come from health departments in 24 of 50 US states).

President Joe Biden began calling Covid-19 in the US “a pandemic of the unvaccinated”.

Weekly Covid-19 death rates per capita, vaccinated vs unvaccinated

Dr Althoff contends that the US had “a lot of barriers” to overcome.

“Trust in science has waned, trust in government has waned, vaccine hesitancy is a powerful force, misinformation is rampant,” she told the BBC.

“We have to do more than just trying to educate; we have to try and understand. That takes conversation and trust-building.

With death rates rising once again in much of the country, she said Delta remained a serious problem,

Public health experts are still figuring out what impact the new Omicron variant may have this winter, but officials are urging Americans to get booster shots to combat waning protection.

26 thoughts on “COVID the Career Buster – Thoughts?”

  1. Divisions are rife and the sense of entitlement that we can sit in judgment on each other is growing exponentially. Our choices are ours to make, always, career ways and all ways. The erosion of our ability to debate and accept that others hold different opinions can be halted. Loving grace, H and we are all in need. ❤ xXx

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Don’t dictate a career choice of another. Ever. Unless they decide they going to have a career of finding four leaf clovers and while they’re hunting them you are supposed to support said person. Burn out is real. Let people be

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m not an RN, I have a Public Health background and now am disabled due to my TBI and DAI.
    The thing I am seeing with a lot of RNs I personally know is that this is definitely testing them and weeding them out. I can see the burnout and why so many are struggling, but I also feel that those working in health as RNs and Doctors and more that it’s kind of a problem to be anti vax, but I also see how the vax is pushed as a must have or lose your job and I know so many who are Vaxed and boosted who have had Covid and now in Oregon at least it’s ok for a nurse to work with Covid.
    So I am very confused, again I have a brain injury and am confused often now. I definitely see a huge politics part in this and I also feel if you chose to go into the medical field you probably shouldn’t be someone anti flu shot, anti vaccinations etc. But this is all my opinion and in the healthcare field we never know what’s coming.
    This sucks though and I am sure has caused a ton of burnout and a ton of holy crap I picked a career and never thought I would deal with a pandemic and it’s too much and it’s ok to not want to handle it and find another career, it just sucks for those of us who didn’t get into nursing school that would gladly be there now if that makes sense.
    Maybe this will be something to look at admissions and add some criteria for admissions, it’s so hard to get into in Oregon and so many do it for the money not the actual career.
    One friend came out of retirement in nursing to help in this pandemic.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Jessy! Yes, it’s a tough and confusing situation for sure. Before COVID, I and other RNs where constantly exposed to electrical dangers, chemical dangers, infectious exposures, exposures to medicines, combative patients, berating doctors, unsupportive management, and intentional short staffing. I left and changed careers at age 40. COVID is a game changer though because of fatality rate, long-term COVID, and the risk of taking it home to family members. I can’t blame people for leaving this situation

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I fully agree that you can leave any situation, career included if it no longer serves you and doesn’t feel safe. There is nothing wrong with that. Staffing has been such an issue even before Covid! Covid definitely has been a game changer. I’m glad you left when you did and found another career:)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. And my friend is a ER RN her whole career but then got into hospital admin so going back out of retirement was not bedside! Had to clarify. But I am sure is a mess being in admin too right now just more “safe”. And she would not have left retirement if they could travel but since she couldn’t do that she decided to make more money!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Totally. She did a little in 2020 as well. And her daughter who is also a nurse got it and son recently, all boosted and vaxxed. Down for a bit but no hospital stays. It’s just like we are waiting to get it since so many we know have and all vaxed. Luckily we don’t see a lot of people I guess.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Should go without saying that anybody has the right to change horses at any point, especially in today’s intensified craziness. I guess that it has to be defended is yet aother sign of what is in short supply during the current global spiritual crisis: respectful empathy. Meanwhile, I salute you if you are doing RN work nowadays. No two ways about that.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Excellent post! I believe our career choices, opinions, and actions are ours alone to determine. All the fighting, judgment, and trolling is tiresome in my opinion. I’m not sure when our opinions became the litmus test for friendship? What happened to individuality, critical thinking, and respect for each other. It’s become much more tricky to maneuver is the world today. Often I choose to be silent than to fight. A few thoughts…all my best, C

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I appreciate your perspective and I agree. It’s sad when we recognize there is no point to trying to have an honest exchange of ideas. Too many people seeing nothing but black and white. Listening seems to be a forgotten art. And individual choices don’t deserve to be attacked. Especially in this instance. My Dad was a career military officer through two wars, yet I saw more death in the hospital as a nurse. And I’m still wrestling with those ghosts. Yes, empathy and understanding and respect. We need much more of that. Best wishes ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderful piece, who would dare to dictate to anyone on anything? It is simple hypocrisy based on selfish and fear based irrationalities. If only we could get back to trusting one another and listening carefully to one another.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Paul, and I totally agree. When did the listening stop? And where did all the support and trust go? And this dictatorial attitude was sadly fostered by one of our so-called leaders

      Like

  7. As a registered nurse, I don’t blame any nurse for quitting and doing something else. I worked on the medical floor and then went to mental health. My experience working in hospitals is that RNs are treated like dirt by management most of the time because they are just another commodity that costs too much money. The government interference, the micro-managing, the unrealistic expectations, the stress, the uncooperative and ungrateful patients, all help contribute to burn-out. You gotta do what makes you happy!

    Liked by 1 person

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