Supply shortages and vaccine mandates are making healthcare employees feel unsafe. If they leave their jobs - and possibly the healthcare field overall - their hospitals will be even more strapped for resources, and their communities will be more unsafe.
Perhaps you feel like you don't have time to explain the situation to people who are reacting with resentment and fear to the unprecedented stress of the current climate. But if you don't take that time, you will definitely lose some people who might otherwise have helped you. And having fewer resources only makes everything more difficult and robs you of more time.
Here's the situation as explained in the best articles we ran across in the last week:
- As we've seen with each vaccine mandate that goes into effect, a wave of resignations and dismissals is making its way out from providers across the country. Why does this happen?
- When making policy decisions - particularly those based on science - leaders often neglect the sciences studying human behavior. In particular, we can pretty easily predict why someone might make a big decision like leaving their job when overwhelmed. And we can combat the fight-or-flight response by understanding where hesitancy comes from and changing how we talk about the problem.
- And we can similarly see how people perceiving their working conditions as unsafe might strike or quit. Especially if communication from their leadership has been inconsistent with reality.
- What has caused the lack of supplies and resources that make the healthcare workers feel unsafe? The same supply chain disruption that has affected every industry. Everyone's experiencing shortages. Except, of course, for the manufacturers who pivoted to pandemic supplies that aren't in as much demand anymore. (You might be able to meet some of your own sourcing and expiration avoidance goals with the advice recently given in our CEO's presentation at AHRMM.)
- Sadly, as staffing struggles are getting worse, so are the caseloads in many places, so much so that the hallways that are emptying of staff are filling with ICU beds. This is not only a tragedy in terms of human cost, but a nightmare of financial cost - for the hospitals and their patients.
It's conclusively clear that vaccines greatly reduce risk of infection, as well as severity of sickness. Explaining that alone isn't enough to convince people who are reasonably afraid of the vaccines' novelty and of the pharmaceutical industry that developed them.
So maybe try to convince your hesitant colleagues and community members - who are putting their communities at greater risk - that what's been achieved so far has been because of the massive, unprecedented cooperation of the whole of humanity. It's a marvel of modern science and organization. And more cooperation can only make things better.
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