I’ve been reading through some recent news stories, and it made me wonder what the hell these people were thinking (or if they did) when they chose their careers. The first was in a story about hospitals cracking down on workers who don’t get the flu shots.
Cancer nurse Joyce Gingerich is among the skeptics and says her decision to avoid the shot is mostly “a personal thing.” She’s among seven employees at IU Health Goshen Hospital in northern Indiana who were recently fired for refusing flu shots. Gingerich said she gets other vaccinations but thinks it should be a choice. She opposes “the injustice of being forced to put something in my body.”
No, it’s not going well for her.
Medical ethicist Art Caplan says health care workers’ ethical obligation to protect patients trumps their individual rights.
“If you don’t want to do it, you shouldn’t work in that environment,” said Caplan, medical ethics chief at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. “Patients should demand that their health care provider gets flu shots — and they should ask them.”
Moving on, there was this story about at a teacher suing her school district because of … a fear of young kids.
A former high school teacher suing the school district where she used to work is accusing its administrators of discriminating against her because of a rare phobia she says she has: a fear of young children.
Apparently she’s had this for a while, and is now claiming that the school district did this on purpose to force her to retire.
In neither case were these things that “weren’t foreseeable.” Really, if you work in a hospital (I have) you’re going to be required to get certain vaccinations. It’s not just for your protection, it’s also for the patients. You’re not going to get through nursing school or medical school without knowing that. I assume that most people going into teaching understand that they may – and probably will – have to work with young children.
Which is why I find myself remarkably lacking in sympathy for them. It is one thing when the career reality turns out not to be what the education or training led you to believe when you were going through it. I know a young woman who resigned from the state Department of Environmental Conservation a while after getting what she thought was her “dream job,” which she had gone to college for: Wildlife biologist. Why’d she leave? She told me “You know, I went to college to work with wildlife, not sit in a cubicle for 40 hours a week doing data analysis and preparing reports.” Anyone who has been in the military can tell you about the infamous phrase “other duties as assigned.” Take my word for it, there was nothing in my MOS job description, or civilian and military education that said “runs the unit drug testing program.”
Those are examples of “I didn’t sign up for this,” where the job – or a part of the job – ends up being something that was never mentioned in training or job descriptions. Most of the time, we either accept it or move into a different career. Many times, people realize this before they get there. Any college can show you figures of students who switch majors or drop out because the path they thought they wanted when they applied turned out to be “not for them.” It’s understandable, it’s a part of the process of growing up, and most of us have been through it.
What I don’t understand is the people who, despite every piece of evidence and experience being presented to them, still decide to enter a field they’re not happy with, or are manifestly unsuited for. That’s why incidents like the ones I mentioned at the beginning draw scant sympathy from me. The only thing I can think of asking them is “What were you thinking?” Seriously.