“Once there were healthcare professionals.
And they cared for their patients.
And every day the patients would come to the healthcare professionals and enjoy freedoms of the access to care.
Patients would play with their health, risking one thing after another, with lifestyle choices such as poor nutrition, lack of exercise, or smoking.
But the healthcare professionals would continue to give. They would grow and create a TREE OF LIFE. With branches and leaves made of love. Empathy. Compassion. Kindness. And science.
And when the patients were sick and tired, they would lay in the shade made by the large branches and leaves of love, empathy, compassion, kindness, and science.
They’d enjoy the shade, and treatment, given by their tree of healthcare professionals.
Then a virus came.
And the patients praised the healthcare professionals for their hard work and dedication. They made signs and sent food. They cheered on streets and clapped in hallways.
And the healthcare professionals loved their patients and worked harder than ever with unmatched devotion, unparalleled selflessness, and fearlessness that could only be described as heroic.
But time went by… and vaccinations were available, but not taken by many…
…and the virus mutated.
Then one day the unvaccinated patients came to the exhausted healthcare professionals.
And the healthcare professionals said, ‘Here, take this vaccination. Swing on my branches of knowledge. Play in the shade and comfort of my research.’
‘I am too FREE to take your vaccine,’ said the patients. ‘I want to be free and live my life.’
‘Here,’ the healthcare professionals would say. ‘Take our proverbial LEAVES and APPLES, in the form of masks and face coverings and protect yourselves and family.’
The patients did not comply, but simply argued and fought for their ‘freedom,’ while healthcare professionals hung their heads in despair.
And the patients wanted more.
So the healthcare professionals said, ‘Here! Take my BRANCHES so you can build a new future! We now have THREE available vaccines, all proven effective and safe. One is even FDA approved.’
The unvaccinated patients took the branches in terms of taking more resources away, but never got vaccinated. ‘I am too busy to vaccinate. I want to travel, and go to concerts, and go to unmasked large events.’
So the unvaccinated patients came back, now infected with a variant of the virus.
‘Here!’ cried the healthcare professionals, now desperate for someone to listen. ‘Take my TRUNK. Take all of my hospital’s beds. Overwhelm my compassionate nurses, providers, lab technicians, and housekeeping staff. Use our ventilators and ICUs. Make it to where others who may need urgent access to care just do not have the resources available. Take all of the remaining morale from my system so that you can feel your ‘freedom.’
And the unvaccinated patient did just that. He cut down the trunk and continued to obstruct the system.
The tree, the healthcare professional, stood all alone…
just a STUMP.
An exhausted, overrun, under-appreciated stump.
And the healthcare professional said to the unvaccinated patient, ‘I’m sorry, but I have nothing left to give you. My apples and leaves are gone. You won’t wear the masks. My branches are gone. You won’t vaccinate. My trunk is gone. You’ve taken all of my resources. I wish that I could give you something but I have nothing left. I am just an old stump.’
Then the unvaccinated patients climbed atop the old stump to yell out their unwarranted and falsified fears to the masses.
And the tree… the healthcare professional… was left feeling used, defeated, and worthless in an unending battle.
To rebuild our tree, to rebuild our morale within our healthcare professionals we will need to look inward. As a physician assistant, I have the honor to care for patients in my daily life and I truly enjoy my career. However, with the growing stress and divide created by this pandemic, it is so evident that many of our healthcare professionals are exhausted and overwhelmed. Let’s come together. Let’s educate ourselves and our patients with an empathetic and compassionate heart. Simply put: mask up, vaccinate, wash your hands, and share a smile. We can do this.”
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