Yet, the treatment of slashing costs and pushing discounts only focuses on the symptom of financial turmoil, rather than treating the root cause of the problem.
It is a symptom of the widespread commoditisation of health.
Formerly the most trusted profession in Australia, the annual Australian Readers Digest ‘Most Trusted Professions’ survey for 2014 revealed that pharmacists were ranked seventh, demonstrating a notable decline.
Signs offer to beat the price of any script by ten per cent.
Pharmacy processes require patients to walk through the whole pharmacy before paying for their medication so they hopefully buy some of the colourful specials on offer.
Staff are encouraged to push discount products whether the customer needs them or not.
As a result, the industry has become a financial statement where mark-ups and retail profits have replaced the language of health care and community.
We are recruiting customers…not patients.
I’ve been in the same position.
I loved nursing – it was an incredible way to fulfill l my desire to support others.
Every patient to me was someone I loved, and I did everything in my reach to create a healing environment for
When the medical and nursing team were having a medical brief, we would say, ‘This is a case of a fractured femur; the patient is on the following medications and will be sent to the operating room immediately,’ and so on, always focusing on the ‘case’ instead of the person.
The patient was hanging on by a thread and had severe head injuries.
We were working like clockwork to save him – no emotion, our minds completely on the task at hand until he finally became stable and conscious.
I walked through the waiting room and an older lady carrying a two-year- old baby in her arms asked me about her son the man I’d just spent hours saving.
I told her I was really busy now and that I would talk to her later.
She begged me, saying, ‘He is my son, he is my son! Is he alive?’ As I continued like a robot towards the cafe, she followed me and grabbed my clothes. ‘Look, look, he has three children.’
She handed the baby to me. I held his son and I felt so guilty that I started crying. I was ashamed of myself – how could I have become so heartless?
I could not believe that I, someone who had always prided himself on being so caring and compassionate, could have become a desensitised robot?
I had become part of the hospital culture of insensitivity.Even though we were playing a crucial role in saving people’s lives, we lacked the human touch.
We never followed up a single person when we referred them to other wards, we never thought of the loved ones waiting for a glimmer of hope, and we never thought of anything beyond the scope of our duty, unless it was a relative.
We drift away from our individual brilliance, veer away from our true beliefs, and slowly each individual loses their true colours, only to be awoken by a harsh wake-up call.
We all agreed that we had lost our human touch and that we would have greater fulfilment if we allowed ourselves to show better care and deeper emotions.
We recognised that we were in the health care industry and it was not wrong to be attached to the people we supported and saved.
It was not wrong to feel and act like human beings.
It was not wrong to have our hearts broken due to loving the people we had so devotedly cared for.We learnt to talk to their families, we visited them in other wards, we held barbecues on the hospital campus and we invited the new generations of medical and nursing students to hear about patient experiences of living through car accidents, living through overdoses and going through rehab, and understanding the feeling of despair when the angel of death was near.
We found a purpose that elevated our consciousness to the greatest levels of humanity. We started treating every person as a member of our family.