Why Health Care Workers Should Make More Money Than Athletes

Mallorey Hoernig, Reporter

Healthcare Workers Should be Paid More than Professional Athletes

Professional athletes are some of the highest paid individuals in the world, but why not our healthcare workers who do so much more for the community? 

The entertainment industry is tricky. We wonder and are annoyed by why athletes and celebrities are overpaid, yet we’re the ones fueling their money and fame. 

It is all entertainment, and entertainment sells, but that doesn’t mean athletes should be paid the millions that they are.  

According to student journalist Kelsey O’Connor, professional athletic teams may be worth millions of dollars, but does that mean they’re worth more than a human life?

She argued a great point worth mentioning, such as what would happen to our country if professional athletes and sports teams disappeared?

Illness and chaos would break throughout the country without doctors. Athletes would not be a thought in our minds if our country was in complete mayhem. 

People would survive without the entertainment of athletes and get over it. Hundreds and thousands of people would die without the assistance of doctors. 

Especially with COVID-19 unfolding against our world; more and more nurses and doctors are quitting their jobs. These jobs are getting much more difficult to get people to fill nowadays. 

Individuals like Brittany Kennedy, a licensed practical nurse who works for a family and their child, are fighting until it’s time they clock out. 

“I know a few people who’ve said they’re not returning to long-term care because of how COVID has affected them. They’re just not doing it. It was a very, very stressful year,” said Kennedy. 

Along with Kennedy, there are thousands of other healthcare workers like her that have been destroyed by COVID-19. 

Cassie Alexander, an intensive care unit nurse of 14 years, suffered from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after taking care of so many patients fighting to stay alive from the virus. 

In April of 2021, Cassie texted her friends: “Nothing like feeling strongly suicidal at a job where you’re supposed to be keeping people alive.” Shortly after, she quit her job and was diagnosed with PTSD. 

While athletes might train long hours and travel for sports making their days longer, healthcare workers have hours nobody would argue are stressful. 

Nurses tend to work 12-14 hour shifts in order to stay with patients longer and therefore better care for them. But, like most jobs, they have to arrive early and end up staying late.

Registered nurse Jessica Hall said, “I get to work at 6:20 a.m. to get settled for my 7 a.m. shift, and I usually get off anywhere between 7:15 or 8 p.m., sometimes later.”

These hours aren’t to mention the fact that healthcare workers are needed at all hours of the day, so many doctors are on-call all night long, and nurses are required to work night time shifts. 

Sure, athletes have to deal with the stress of performance and their reputation, but not near the exhaustion a nurse has to deal with after a long day. 

“I think the emotional toll is difficult. Losing patients. Holding hands as they pass. Putting patients into body bags, taking off their wedding band beforehand, knowing this is someone’s most loved person in the world. Talking to the family. It’s very hard,” Hall lamented.

They not only deal with insane amounts of stress, but also have to deal with aggressive, rude, and at times, terrified patients. 

Michelle Ockerman, a registered nurse who works at Patient First in Bel Air MD said, “I’ve had a patient cuss me out because I wouldn’t send her medical record to her job. That’s a HIPPA violation (privacy law) and illegal. I legally cannot do that.” 

She says that’s just an example and has had many other patients like that one. 

Hall has many similar stories of difficult situations. There are even scary situations, because nurses work with psych and dementia patients. “Some of them hit us, attack us, swear at us. We could be in another room giving [cardiopulmonary resuscitation] CPR and someone is on their call bell angry at us because we didn’t give them a blanket fast enough. I have had confused patients while [I] was pregnant try to punch me in the stomach.”

Athletes and healthcare workers do share similarities, but overall what our healthcare workers do for our country should be rewarded and recognized more than it is. 

The importance of one’s job should determine their compensation, not how entertaining they are.