Where have all the healthy health care workers gone?

fat vurses pptxI’ve been battling a particularly nasty upper respiratory infection the past few days. As a result, I’ve had the opportunity to visit health care facilities in both the granite and garden states, respectively. In each instance, the numerous health care workers I’ve encountered were either:

- Morbidly obese
- Huddled together outside in the cold, chain smoking cigarettes
- Stuffing their faces with Big Macs.

I know health care is up to the individual, but what sort of quality health care can markedly unhealthy health care providers provide (and, try saying that last line three times fast)?

Shouldn’t walk-in clinics, doctors’ offices, hospitals and medical centers be held to a higher standard? Shouldn’t the senior practitioners and administrators who run these institutions encourage wellness instead of empowering habits that lead to diabetes, cancer and god knows what else?

My Manhattan primary care provider recently told me 90 percent of the nurses at the hospital where she’s affiliated smoke cigarettes all day long. “And,” she added, “they always have.”

It’s no wonder the rest of the world thinks Americans have become fat, dumb and lazy. If you disagree, just stop by your local health care provider and you’ll see what other nations see: yet another example of our nation’s slow, steady decline towards mediocrity.

(Oh and you can find the health care workers at McDonalds.)

8 thoughts on “Where have all the healthy health care workers gone?

  1. Glad to hear you are alive and well. Was getting worried that I would have nothing to read during my day. Even well people get sick I guess.

  2. One of my brothers had a heart attack last September and I went down to visit him. While in the hospital in Baltimore, I spent much of my time at his bedside and there were a number of nurses and support staff who were in and out of his room. Late one evening, a bell rung and a snack cart was rolled down the hall outside of his room. I was curious to see what this was about, so I got up out of my chair and stepped into the hallway. On the cart were various candy bars, bags of chips, sandwiches, yogurt, etc. Later on, I spoke with one of the nurses who was tending to my brother about the selections that were being offered and I recall saying something to the effect that “I don’t understand this. We’re in a hospital where we’re supposed to be promoting good health, yet much of the stuff on the cart was not conducive to healthy eating.” The nurse agreed and shared that the items that are healthy are much more expensive. So it all comes back to choices. Good thing I packed some granola bars in my bag.

  3. Sadly, it was very easy to find photos of overweight health care workers. Also found a lot of articles about how there is pressure for them to be better examples for their patients.

  4. I know some companies incentivize employees to lose weight (and/or raise health care coverage costs if they employees smoke or are grossly obese). I’d never do that at Peppercomm, but I do believe medical facilities should do something to shape up their workers (and their image).

  5. Our health care provider has incentives that you get points for exercise and having an all inclusive physical and they will reduce your premium portion up to 30% depending upon how well you do. Worth it for sure.

  6. Donna, that’s nice! I think most companies rates are based upon the overall health of the employees as a group, so ones who are not in the best health are balanced out by the ones who are. Or something. I dunno. But to Rep’s topic, I think health care providers should privately incentivize their employees to set good examples.

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