When you’re at the doctor’s office or a hospital, it’s easy to get frustrated. Why is this taking so long? Why do the nurses look so tired? Why does my doctor seem distracted? Who’s making sure my diagnosis is right?
There are people, stories, and entire worlds that could provide answers to these questions — but as patients, we don’t get to see them. So on this episode, we’ll take you behind the waiting room doors, to talk about some of the big issues that affect the health care workforce. We’ll hear stories about the decades-long fight over residents’ work hours, the history of travel nursing, and what two long-time ER nurses have to say about burnout. We’ll also meet some of the crucial, but little-known, professionals who work behind the scenes in medicine.
Also heard on this week’s episode:
- For a long time, grueling hours were considered part of the deal of becoming a doctor. But over the past couple years, that’s started to change, as medical residents began organizing, and fighting back against 80+ hour workweeks. Reporter Liz Tung looks into the history of the residency duty hours debate, and why — even amid research on the dangers of sleep deprivation — many in the medical world continue to push for longer hours.
- Travel nursing was once dubbed a “gold rush,” particularly in the wake of COVID-19, offering nurses the opportunity for travel, growth, and often triple-pay. But as Alan Yu reports, travel nursing is tough and can come with serious tradeoffs.
- In this excerpt from their podcast National Emergency, longtime ER nurses Kate O’Connell and Nashia Williams talk about one of the biggest issues health care workers face: burnout. In addition to sharing their own experiences, they talk with Michael Leiter, an organizational psychologist, researcher, and co-author of “The Burnout Challenge: Managing People’s Relationships with Their Jobs.”
- You’ve heard of radiologists, phlebotomists — maybe even wound-care specialists. But how about perfusionists, cancer registrars, and cytopathologists? We introduce you to several of the little-known, but crucial, members of your behind-the-scenes health care team.