Another One Bites the Dust

Updated: Jan 18

I named this post before I started writing it. Can you hear the Queen song?

I used to sing this song to myself when another one of my child protection coworkers quit. When another person would give two weeks’ notice, the rest of us quickly cycled through a range of emotions while keeping them tucked neatly behind a mask of support.

First, the exasperated sigh and the thing you don’t say out loud: Frick. Not another one.

Dun dun dun, another one bites the dust.

Then the unconditional support: “Of course this is the right thing for you. I really wish you the best. I’m sure your new job as a real estate agent will be much better for you.”

Dun dun dun, another one bites the dust.

Then comes the panic, also not uttered out loud: How am I going to take on this person’s caseload too? I’m already overloaded.

Dun dun dun, another one bites the dust.

As you walk your soon-to-be former coworker out to the car, you tell them a secret: “I’m so proud of you. This place sucks and I’ve been thinking about quitting too. You’re so brave.”

Dun dun dun, another one bites the dust.

But there is also judgment; most people don’t say this out loud: How can you possibly leave these children? They need you!

Dun dun dun, another one bites the dust.

And, finally, the contemplation phase: what if I quit too? Nah, that’s not possible. I’ve invested so much time and money to get here. Plus, I need these great government benefits. Lots of people would love to have this job. And I’d be a hypocrite because these kids need me too.

Dun dun dun, another one bites the dust.

Then I started doing research and I found some really gruesome facts. The reality in healthcare is that another one bites the dust WAY too often. Check out these statistics:

As went down the rabbit hole of sobering facts, it became hard to swallow this title as the song tried to make its way out of my vocal chords: Another One Bites the Dust. It’s too real. The stakes are too high. And it is not simply a matter of another disgruntled healer storming out of an impossible work environment. (I’m imagining a nurse throwing down like a boxer: (blue) gloves off, busting out of the hospital with conviction and self respect, Rocky style). Too often, the result is not anywhere near this glorious scene.

Too often, another one actually bites the dust:

What happens before it gets this bad? Healthcare professionals are struggling with depression and anxiety. That means they are working with patients while they are experiencing a mental health crisis. We could spend our time measuring exact cause and effect of how mental health crisis might affect patient care, but how about we just try to imagine the results. Are you ready for these statistics?

Patients are biting the dust because healthcare professionals are biting the dust:

And if that isn't bad enough...

Medical error is the third leading cause of death, after heart disease and cancer.

Mic drop (in the dust).

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