A nurse’s workplace is being beaten up online for sending “thank you” cards for large amounts of mandatory overtime—but the card was addressed to her husband, thanking him for “sharing her.”
The original poster, u/Solitude Weeks, shared an image of the card with an explanation in his post to the popular Reddit forum r/antiwork, earning 26,500 upvotes and 2,000 comments for it in 11 hours. Post“Thank you note on behalf of my job to my husband for my mandatory overtime.”
“Dear [Husband’s Name]Thank you for sharing my wife [u/SolitudeWeeks], as he has been forced to work several times in the last few months. We definitely believe it took her away from her family. Please know that we appreciate her and thank you for sharing when we desperately needed her,” the card read.
The OP says that mandatory overtime would have resulted in a fine for the hospital, that rule was suspended at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, many nurses have been forced to spend an extra four to eight hours after their shifts normally end.
“After a particularly bad week, my husband got a thank you from the hospital for ‘sharing’ me,” wrote u/solitudeweeks.
In a comment, she said she also posted the image of the card to her Facebook profile, where a “local nurse influencer” found it, causing it to go viral in the nursing community. The Chief Nursing Officer at her workplace came to know about the card and stopped the management from sending it out further.
U/Solitude Weeks said, “They had to reach out to my emergency contacts to figure out who to ‘properly’ thank. It was more like a slap in the face than the $10 gift card they were given, but Got out quickly.”
She also states that there is no reward for working compulsory overtime, and that overtime only begins after the 80th hour in two weeks.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been very hard on nurses and other health care professionals. In October, when enrollment in nursing schools was rising, nurses were leaving the industry due to the stress of dealing with COVID-19-dying patients, harassment from COVID deniers and “frustration” over the prevention of some deaths. Some nurses reported “compassion fatigue” during the worst spikes of illness.
Another study showed that 40 percent of nurses said they plan to leave the industry. Despite the increase in burnout, the median wage has remained steady at $35 an hour. And although there are options available for nurses to help with their mental health, Diana Calthorpe Rose and Sharon Salzberg of the Garrison Institute and the Insight Meditation Society, respectively, say that although there are groups such as Helping Healer to help, “support networks Stay short and thin.”
“CDC guidelines recommend self-care techniques such as taking breaks, getting enough sleep, and meditating,” Rose and Salzberg write. Easier said than done. A nurse working a double shift, sacrificing her breaks to stay in bed with a dying patient, can hardly follow such advice consistently. She needs a self-care resource needs that she can use in low increments when she gets an extra minute, which can be increased until it is available to millions of health care workers like her.”
And nurse burnout has real consequences for patients, too. Last September, a 70-year-old woman died after waiting six hours in a hospital ER; Two-thirds of the hospital’s nursing staff had quit or were transferred.
“It’s hard. I don’t want to blame anyone, because apparently, these things happen to people. And it’s not really about us anyway. It’s obviously about making our mother sad.” In general, we are also hoping and praying that this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
Redditors were disgusted that the card was addressed to u/Solitude Weeks’ husband for “sharing him” and not the nurse who actually did all the hard work.
“They really see us as assets, don’t they?” Posted by u/juicyjules_24.
“Yes, they do. I have a newspaper clipping from 2005 where the VP of the company I worked for at the time did an interview regarding ‘panic attacks.’ The VP said, almost verbatim, ‘We’ve built a company infrastructure that will allow us to rebuild, rework and reopen in less than a month after a catastrophic event like a terrorist attack at one of our locations. U/Crap replied. “I cut up the article and brought it to my manager, asking him what his thoughts were. His response was ‘That article was aimed at shareholders.’ That was an eye-opening moment for me.”
“I’m betting that someone in the office either comes from the military or gets ideas from the military. The military does this when people are deployed, I have to ask my husband’s commanding officer every time he’s deployed. I get a card in the mail and it feels weird as hell every time,” u/flyfightwinMIL
“Literally speaking of her like she’s a piece of property,” wrote u/StanIsLove6666.
newsweek Contacted u/Solitude Weeks for comment.