When we interviewed Mariah last summer, she shared how stressful it was to work in healthcare, from PPE shortages to the threat of disease transmission to at-risk family members.
Understaffed & Overworked
In the last year, her physical and mental health concerns have compounded as a result of understaffing.
“We don’t have the staffing, there’s no available vacation. I tried to schedule some time off for mental and emotional well-being, and was told no. You know, I’m sitting here with a full vacation bank that’s maxed out, I can’t earn anymore, but I also can’t take it.”
She’s concerned about the impact on patients:
“You have to take care of yourself in order to take care of others. Shortchanging staff out of vacation shortchanges patients of the quality of care they need and deserve.”
The lack of care given to the staff threatens to undermine the quality of patient care.
Unionizing to Protect Rights
Mariah and her coworkers have tried to unionize to protect their own rights and also to be sure they can provide high quality care without burning out. She wants nurses to be able to have a fair union election process.
“We don’t want management to shut us out, we want to work together so nurses can have a union vote in a free and open atmosphere.”
The rapid spread of the Delta variant has further increased pressure and stress at the hospital. Mariah believes there needs to be greater investment in the health care system and more responsible public leadership to keep people safe. She notes that political leaders should further aid in the efforts aimed at combating the spread, stressing to:
“stop spreading disinformation and misinformation [and] stop discouraging people from taking good, common sense measures… [we] need to support essential workers with more than just calling us heroes. We need to pay adequate raises to everyone, we need to provide for adequate health care for everyone at all levels…”