Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds in a press conference on Nov. 4 referred to healthcare workers as a “stressed commodity for lack of a better word.” 

This definitely struck a raw nerve with me as I have never heard healthcare professionals called a commodity in my greater than 40 years working in the healthcare field. 

Do I believe they are stressed? Well, you better believe it. Family and friends tell me they are struggling unlike any other time in their work life careers. The COVID-19 crisis is a challenging time like never before for all of us. Healthcare professionals in all types of settings —whether in or out of the hospital – are suffering during their work or volunteer time treating and responding all hours of the day and night. 

A commodity to me is the definition for goods or raw material that can be bought and sold. Our healthcare professionals are not a commodity, they are real people with real feelings and why would they not be stressed when living every work day in this COVID-19 crisis that is out of control!  

The Governor’s announcement of allocating $25 million to help Iowa hospitals with the rising cost to pay their workforce will be a help no doubt. I know healthcare professionals do not chose a career path to financially be rewarded. Their reward comes from the caring and compassionate work they do in whatever setting they decide to work.  

We hear hospitals in our immediate area are facing rising numbers of COVID-19 patients; along with that comes an increasing need for staffing. Hospitals may have the financial resources to hire staff but there is limited available trained staff. Offering increased pay and financial incentives will only go so far; healthcare professionals are tired after working long hours. It is emotionally, mentally and physically taxing caring for very sick patients in addition to all the personal protective equipment requirements to minimize the spread of the virus to others. 

Extra dollars will be appreciated but are definitely not the help they are wanting from all of us in the community.  In addition to taking care of the patients it saddens me to hear healthcare professionals are dealing with verbal abuse from patient family members complaining about visiting restrictions. Talk about adding unnecessary stress – please put yourself in their position and think of the work and communication they do every day behind layers of protection to try and keep themselves and their loved ones safe.

Please, please wear a mask, social distance at least 6 feet from others, wash or sanitize your hands, stay home when sick or have been exposed to others who have been sick. Get your flu shot. Let’s do our part to give consideration and show appreciation to our stressed healthcare professionals in our community.

Cheryl Curl