I guess that you could call me a veteran health care worker, in that I have worked as a nurse since 1986, and I have worked all over the hospital and in the community. I have observed a great deal in my career, and I have worked with many dedicated, overworked, underpaid, and under-valued health care professionals who are not nurses.
Yes, nurses are necessary in critical care and specialized areas, and wherever health care takes place, however, we do not work alone. We are members of the health care team.
Without the housekeeping staff, who follow infection-control protocols and ensure that the environment in which we care for patients is free of communicable infections, or the pharmacists and pharmacy techs who make sure that all medications are safe and available for us to use, or the medical imaging technologists who perform diagnostic imaging so that we know what is going on inside our patients, or the phlebotomists and ECG techs who draw blood samples and perform the ECGs to ensure that we deliver the safest and most appropriate treatments, and the people who acquire and stock the supplies that we use to deliver safe patient care, we absolutely could not deliver safe and competent care.
Respiratory therapists are a vital discipline in caring for people with emergent, acute and chronic respiratory conditions. Our dietary team plays a vital role in providing nutrition for our patients so that they can heal. The biomedical technicians maintain the monitoring and life saving medical equipment on the hospital units, and in the ORs and ICUs so that patient care can be delivered. The hospital maintenance staff keep the building running.
Then, when people are on the road to recovery our allied health team steps up: physiotherapists and rehab assistants, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, and social workers so. These professionals help people get back home and get on with the business of living, after hospitalization.
I have yet to mention physicians, who are also undeniably crucial to the health care team. They also work on the front lines, many of them work insanely long hours, and are often not given the compensation and recognition that they deserve.
If you look at the big health care picture, or even take the time to talk to different members of our health team you will see that working over time, working beyond scheduled shifts, exhaustion, cancelled vacation time, and burnout is not exclusive to nurses, as Mr. Zimmer pointed out.
We were all feeling the strain thrust upon us by a pandemic that has compounded the existing problem of insufficient staffing levels due to shortages of health care workers and insufficient and inefficient health care funding.
Tammy Goodall, White Rock