Updated Jan 29, 2022 - Health

Health care workers hit new breaking point

Illustration of a stethoscope wrapped around a doctor's torso.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The ranks of health care workers are dwindling and stretching what it means to be reaching their "breaking points," particularly at small nonprofit hospitals.

The big picture: Even as Omicron cases have begun to wane in some places, many hospitals are still fielding a crush of patients amid record employee callouts.

Yes, but: There's also a growing amount of frustration, burnout and compassion fatigue straining the workforce, the New York Times wrote over the weekend.

  • "Frontline medical workers in the U.S. are angry — at the patients who refuse to get vaccinated and at the political leaders who call them 'health care heroes' while opposing mask and vaccine mandates," per the Times.

What they're saying: "The pandemic has laid bare the myriad inefficiencies and frank failures in our health-care system that we had managed to paper over until a real crisis came along," Megan Ranney, academic dean at the Brown University School of Public Health, wrote in the Washington Post.

  • "We have served as the safety net for a broken system. But with the serial surges of COVID, we simply can't do it anymore," she wrote.

Editor's note: This story originally published on Jan. 24.

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