Nursing is a demanding job that doesn’t leave a lot of time for a life outside of work. After implementing a new overtime policy, a hospital sent a “thank you” card except the note wasn’t addressed to the nurse – it was addressed to her husband.
The nurse shared a picture of the handwritten note on Reddit under the username u/SolitudeWeeks along with the caption, “A thank you note from my job to my husband for my mandatory overtime.”
The post quickly garnered over 26,000 upvotes and 2,000 comments in the first 11 hours alone.
The card reads, “Dear [Husband’s Name], Thank you for sharing your wife, [u/SolitudeWeeks], as she has been mandated to work several times over the past few months. We certainly recognize that this took her away from her family. Please know we appreciate her and thank you for sharing when we desperately needed her.”
According to the hospital’s new policy, nurses are now required to stay four to eight hours after their shift normally ends.
“After a particularly bad week, my HUSBAND got a thank you care for ‘sharing’ me from the hospital,” she wrote.
She says she originally shared the image to her private Facebook page, but a nursing influencer saw the photo and reposted it to make it go viral.
After her chief nursing officer found out about the card, they prevented the hospital from sending any more.
“They had to access my emergency contacts to find out who to ‘properly’ thank. It was more of a slap in the face than the $10 gift cards they gave out but quickly ran out of,” the nurse added.
Nurses also do not receive a reward or additional compensation for working mandatory overtime. They only receive a higher rate of pay after working 80 hours across two weeks.
Many hospitals are asking staff to work extra shifts amid the nursing shortage. Providers of all backgrounds have been quitting the field in droves due to unsafe working conditions, long hours, and the added stress of working through the pandemic. Meanwhile, the average hourly wage for nurses in the U.S. hasn’t budged from $35 an hour despite record high inflation.
This can have a significant effect on nurses’ mental health.
According to Diana Calthorpe Rose and Sharon Salzberg of the Garrison Institute and Insight Meditation Society, respectively, support groups like Helping Healers Heal are being formed to help, but these kinds of programs “remain few and thin.”
“The CDC guidelines recommend self-care techniques like taking breaks, getting enough sleep and meditating,” Rose and Salzberg write. “Easier said than done. A nurse working a double shift, sacrificing her break to stay at the bedside of a dying patient, can hardly follow such advice consistently. What she needs is a self-care resource she can use in short increments when she gets a spare minute, which can be scaled up until it’s available to millions of health care workers like her.”
Redditors were quick to share their opinions on the thank you card. Many were in shock that the hospital thanked the husband instead of the nurse.
“They really view us as property, don’t they?” one user wrote.
“Yes, they do. I have a newspaper clipping from 2005 where the VP for a company I worked for at the time did an interview regarding ‘terror attacks.’ The VP said, almost verbatim, ‘we have built a company infrastructure that would allow us to re-build, re-staff, and re-open in less than one month after a catastrophic event such as a terrorist attack at one of our locations,'” another person replied. “I cut the article out and brought it in to my manager, asking him what his thoughts were. His response was ‘that article was aimed at stockholders.’ That was an eye-opening moment for me.”
“Literally speaking about her as if she is a piece of property,” another comment reads.
“I’m betting somebody in the office either comes from the military or got the idea from the military. The military does this when people deploy, I get a card in the mail from my husband’s commanding officer every time he deploys and it feels weird as hell every time,” someone else shared.