Stuck Between a Vax and a Hard Place
By Ogechi Ohaeto, MT
Imagine being a brand new technologist working by yourself in the middle of a global pandemic.
And you are the one in charge of the most important test at the moment - SARS-CoV-2.
Your training was rushed and every positive result causes you to panic, wash your hands, and change your gloves. Your coworkers are miserable and quitting to go work at other facilities because of the mandatory overtime your director has implemented, but only for those in the Microbiology Department.
This was my life in 2020, and I ended up being one of the coworkers who eventually dropped down to PRN, then left to go to another facility where I felt I would be appreciated.
2021 hits and it seems like we have a plan in place in the event that there is a rise in Covid-19 cases. The vaccine is slowly becoming mandatory in hospitals, but, believe it or not, this still might end up being another mass exodus of employees. Once again, morale has gone down because, at one of the facilities where I work, if you choose not to get the vaccine, you have to wear an N95 mask. Which causes your status to become transparent.
One of my coworkers was telling me how our mutual coworker screamed at her and called her a selfish mother because she had chosen to not get the vaccine. Another of my coworkers claims that if they make it mandatory, she would leave. When asked, “What happens if all the hospitals make it mandatory?”, she replied that she would “change career paths.” I thought to myself, “Well, since she won't get vaccinated to keep working in a lab, I guess she'll end up being a social media influencer because everyone, no matter their profession, seems to be making the vaccine mandatory.”
When will we ever get back to a point where tensions aren’t so high or tender at work? I would argue that this is worse than the 2016 Presidential election. I’ve seen Covid-19 bring out both the best and worst in people.