This morning on Facebook, I read that there are a quite a few companies giving bonuses to the employees who work through the Corona Virus pandemic. Not wanting to get my facts confused, I researched to see if this is indeed true — and it is. To name a few, Walmart, Kroger, CVS, and even Facebook are giving bonuses to their employees that endure during this time of need. What I didn’t find is any front-line healthcare workers who get bonuses. Why?
Well I’ve heard (literally) that nurses and doctors get paid “damn good money” to take care of sick people. I’ve heard that the doctors and nurses “chose that profession” so they knew what they were getting into. I’m not sure that any nurse or doctor thought they’d have to be taking care of infectious patients without the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); yet that is what they are expected to do if no PPE is available.
Yes, nurses and doctors want to give of themselves to their patients, but should they not be rewarded for such a noble sacrifice? Should bonuses be withheld simply because they are dedicated workers who care for the infirmed? I worked as a Registered Nurse in a local Emergency Department (ED) for many years and still have friends who work there. I worked through the HIV crisis and SARS and was never afraid because I had the equipment to take care of myself. I knew how to stop diseases from spreading to me and to my family. This novel Coronavirus is a whole new ballgame. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is still debating whether or not the small droplets from coughing or sneezing could be airborne for longer than anticipated. Everything we touch is in danger of transmitting the disease. I can only imagine that the nurses and doctors are afraid of this disease and it’s transmission.
I know that nurses get incentives to work, but those incentives are based on the hours they work and how long they can stay taking care of patients. They get paid overtime for working long hours and coming into close contact with infectious patients.
Nurses and doctors are not the only front-line caregivers that are exposed and don’t get bonuses. I can’t forget about the secretaries, patient care technicians, custodial employees, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) and Respiratory Therapist just to name a few. Where are the bonuses for these people?
I hope I’m wrong. I hope that front-line healthcare workers are in line for some sort of bonus; maybe not from the hospitals but from the government. They are being talked about like they are unsung heroes — and they are. Let’s give them some monetary backup to go with the praise.