If you have a chance, read Victoria Taft’s piece on the nursing shortage in Oregon. Oddly enough, my wife, who is an ICU nurse, got an email at the end of the prior week asking if she would be interested in doing a 13-week stint in Oregon. “Travelling nurses” have been around for years since it is a good way to see the country and usually make some decent coin in the process. And because there was a nursing shortage prior to the COVID fandango, these offers are nothing new.
But it seems that hospitals in Oregon anticipated the shortfall, and believe me, there was serious money on the table. Had she taken the job she would have made more in those 13 weeks than her entire yearly salary. Talk about some decent coin. She opted not to take the job because she likes the hospital where she currently works and because, well, Oregon.
Some of this can be chalked up to the blue state proclivity to throw cash at a problem like frat boys at a wet t-shirt contest in a local dive where someone else is picking up the tab. But I think, moreover, it is simply that the Left is willing to dig in its heels like a toddler in the toy aisle at a California Walmart and scheme or scream until it gets its way.
On the other hand, Oregon and similar entities just may not get it. Any nurse can tell you that during any given shift, they are cursed at, spat upon, struck, sexually assaulted, bled on, and have feces, urine, and any number of assorted bodily fluids thrown or spilled on them. At one hospital in a town in which I lived, a meth addict grabbed a cop’s gun and managed to squeeze off a shot into the floor of the ICU. As the cop wrestled with the criminal, the nurse led everyone she could to safety without any backup. So nurses have quite enough to contend with without virtue signalers and their games. These nurses were called heroes for treating patients before there was a vaccine and are now being told to kick rocks if they are not 100% onboard with the jab. They are being referred to as the villains of the piece, largely by people who have never lifted a finger on behalf of anyone else in their lives. Many nurses knew that narrative would turn on them eventually, which is why so many of them blanched at the “hero” title.
Some providers understand this. Dr. Randy Tobler, who is the CEO of Scotland County Hospital in Missouri, opposes Biden’s mandate and is extremely concerned that employees may decide to seek their fortunes elsewhere when the things come down to the wire in terms of taking the needle. And why shouldn’t they? There is hardly a shortage of jobs in the U.S. and most of them don’t require dodging other people’s blood and excrement.
And so Oregon decides to try to bring new nurses in by enticing them with high salaries. Everyone, it is said, has a price.
So what is your price? If you are a high-powered political operative, it could be money, position, the chance to keep your elected office, or the promise that past indiscretions will be kept on the q.t. so long as you cooperate. But for you, the average Joe or Jane, your price may be the promise that you will be largely left alone to go about your business and live your life in some semblance of normalcy. But therein lies the problem. They won’t leave you alone. They can’t leave you alone. Like Winston Smith, who could not be released until his mind was shattered. As O’Brien said to him during the interrogation in 1984,“’Do not imagine that you will save yourself, Winston, however completely you surrender to us. No one who has once gone astray is ever spared. And even if we chose to let you live out the natural term of your life, still you would never escape from us. What happens to you here is for ever.” Mere cooperation is never enough. The carrot can become a stick in an instant. And no one is safe.
For example, you might be pilloried in the public square for standing up for a girl whose rape was covered up in the name of transgender rights. But even if you do not find yourself in the glare of the woke spotlight, the spotlight will find you, no matter how insignificant you think you may be. Just ask the man in Australia who had a visit by the local authorities over a Facebook post. If you don’t take the carrot, they will find you with the stick soon enough.