Saturday, April 30, 2011

Shared sacrifice

It’s so easy to get focused on the moment to moment in our lives that I think sometimes we fail to see the day as a whole or our career in the big picture.  Our day passes by in a flash and we are sitting in front of the TV zoning out. 

A day in the life:

5:00 am, it is still dark out. She awakens Gregory, age 10, he complains, she pours him some cereal. She gets Alex, age 3, out of bed, he's looking forward to day care. Her husband James is in the other room getting ready for work. By 6:15 Gregory is on the bus, James is off to work, the cats are fed, and she and Alex are off for the hospital.
She drops Alex at the child care center and has time for a quick coffee with coworkers, that alone makes it a good morning.
She gets report on her patients, makes rounds, goes about her duties. One of the patient care techs is home with a sick child, so they'll work short again. There are fresh post-ops, discharges, and if a bed becomes empty, admissions. Lunch is 15 minutes, just no time, and the day goes by in a wink.
She picks up Alex, has tea with her Mom who has come over to meet Gregory at the bus. James is working late, trying to make some extra money, the refrigerator is on it's last leg. She makes supper, then there's homework. James gets home just in time to take Gregory to youth basketball. James will eat later. While Alex plays and watches the same DVD for the millionth time, she looks over the bills. It's tight, she's lost $5000/year because of hospital cutbacks. They eliminated her certification and longevity bonuses, decreased her weekend and shift differentials. She's had sick time and wellness days taken away too.
In addition, every time her family goes to the doctor or hospital, (her hospital), she pays more than before.
James is too upset to even talk about the pension plan, they froze it, replacing it with a 403B that is matched at the discretion of the hospital.
Get the kids in a bath and then off to bed.  She and her coworkers have lost a lot, but it cuts them deep when they see peanut butter and Italian ice taken away from their patients, when they see the qualities of supplies decrease.
She worries what might be next.
She hears about the changing health care environment and about shared sacrifice, but she sees in the newspaper that her hospital is profitable, she knows about the large bonuses given to the top people.
Her eyes start to close as Randy Jackson critiques her favorite on American Idol.  Tomorrow she will be up before light to do it all again.
Shared sacrifice shouldn't mean that she, her family, and her patients that others can get their share.

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