Tuesday, June 28, 2022

(Courtesy of SMGH) “March is Women’s History Month in the U.S.,” said George Matyjewicz, PhD, community liaison at St. Mary’s General Hospital. “And this month we all need to stand and salute their extraordinary efforts the past two years especially in hospitals as we all battle COVID. Yes, men are RNs also. However, women represent 89% of all registered nurses and 76+% of all healthcare jobs in the U.S.!1 And these past two years have been extremely intense for all healthcare workers.

“Ask any military veteran about time they served in any war, and you probably won’t get a reply, because it is too tragic. If they do talk, they may tell you how they held their buddy in their arms as he passed away, or how they escorted the bodies back home to the family2, or maybe how the body could not be rescued, or maybe they were badly wounded—mentally or physically. Now relate this to our hospital workers in New Jersey that has the fourth-highest number of COVID deaths per 100,000 population in the nation!3

In our hospitals, for the past two years nurses and all medical staff have been working very long hours, usually continuous 12-hours days, treating many patients. In the beginning, the general public had sympathy for these heroes and honored them whenever and however they could. Then as the pandemic continued it was getting on everybody’s nerves, and these poor healthcare workers had to suffer with angry patients taking out all their frustrations on the nurses.

“A year ago at St. Mary’s General Hospital in Passaic our staff enjoyed the ‘Salute to St. Mary’s General Hospital Health Care Workers,’” said Matyjewicz. “The community came together with an auto parade in front of the hospital; cards and thank you notes from children; police and fire departments from Passaic, Clifton and Paterson; and Passaic Mayor Lora who spoke briefly to the staff, all with the same message: ‘Thank You Healthcare Heroes!’ So what happened? It’s not the fault of these healthcare workers that you contracted COVID—they are here to treat you!

Let’s empathize with these heroes. As veterans suffer with PTSD4 from combat, so too will our healthcare workers. They are working long, hard hours trying to save these patients, only to see so many die. Some of them might be friends or co-workers! And these heroes have family at home, whom they have not been able to spend time with for the past two years! All of this is going to have long-term effects on our healthcare workers, which is why you see so many wanting to leave the industry. Have you ever worked long, 12-hour days over a long period of time?”


Women Today

With Judaism, we honor our women every day, and especially on Shabbos when we start the evening with Eishet Chayil —a tribute to our wonderful wives and all they do. “She rises while it is still nighttime, and gives food to her household… She senses that her enterprise is good, so her lamp is not extinguished at night. She puts her hand to the distaff, and her palms support the spindle5.” Translated: She rises early to feed her family, pack lunches, get kids and husband off to school/work, then she goes to work herself. Except if she is a nurse! Which 12-hour shift she is working will determine if she is getting up before the family or coming home from work when the family is leaving.

“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She anticipates the needs of her household, and the bread of idleness, she does not eat... False is grace, and vain is beauty; a God-fearing woman, she should be praised.” Translated: With COVID her daily schedule is interrupted and chaotic. Still she has to keep a smile on her face as she helps others and speaks kindly to her patients. She does not sit by idle—she is constantly moving, anticipating what needs to be done for her family and her patients. Her beauty comes from within, until she is alone when she has time to cry because of all the tragedy she is witnessing every day. But she continues to face each day and prays this pandemic will be over soon.


We Praise You!

Maya Angelou once said, “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” At St. Mary’s General Hospital, we praise all women and are grateful for everything that you have done and continue to do for our patients and our staff. Women represent 76% of all healthcare workers in the U.S.6 and have driven 80% of the overall growth in the booming health care field since the turn of the century. This rapid increase was expected to continue, as many healthcare occupations are projected to grow even faster than average. However, the COVID pandemic may change those expectations.

This was not intended to offend males in healthcare, who we all know do a wonderful job and are suffering along with the women. However, March is Women’s History Month, and this pandemic will definitely go down in history as a game changer in healthcare.

We usually have 200+ positions available, and whoever is qualified should apply at https://www.smh-nj.com/careers/. We are an equal opportunity employer and look for the most qualified candidate for the position.

St. Mary’s General Hospital—nationally recognized, locally preferred among the top hospitals in America for health, quality and patient safety! A center of excellence for maternal-child, the hospital has over 550 physicians and 1,200 employees, with every staff member committed to providing respectful, personalized, high-quality care to satisfy patients’ needs and exceed their expectations. St. Mary’s General is a proud member of Prime Healthcare, which has more Patient Safety Excellence Award recipients for five consecutive years (2016-2020) than any other health system in the country, including a “Top 15 Healthcare System” by Truven Health Analytics. To learn more about St. Mary’s General Hospital, visit https://www.smh-nj.com/ or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/StMarysGeneral.

For more information, please contact George Matyjewicz, PhD, community liaison at [email protected]

1 https://www.catalyst.org/research/women-in-healthcare/ Catalyst Organization - “Women Hold More Than Three-Quarters of Healthcare Jobs”

2 My job when I was on the honor guard in the U.S. Army. The tears of the family when the flag covering the casket was folded and handed to them is still haunting.

3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

4 Post-traumatic stress disorder

5 Eshet Chayil translated. https://www.chabad.org/multimedia/media_cdo/aid/265772/jewish/Eshet-Chayil.htm

6 https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2019/08/your-health-care-in-womens-hands.html

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