The career choices of children are to some extent considerably influenced by the jobs that their elders held. In essence, the nature of work that parents and grandparents preferred becomes a priority for the children when they attain a working age. Psychologically, there an intergenerational recycling of career choices is common thus exposing parents, children, and grandchildren to the same or almost similar occupational health issues. My family is predominantly made up of health practitioners with some being doctors, nurses, community health workers and even specialized physicians (cardiologists, ophthalmologists, and pediatricians). From a young age, my parents just like his parents did, emphasize the gift that our family should preserve of alleviating the suffering of other manners of the community through pursuing health related courses. Virtually every member of my lineage has lived to embrace the fact that taking careers that deal directly with the human health is the ideal way of showing humanity to the people devastated by diseases and the fear of death.
My grandfather was a community nurse, a fact that exposed him to different forms of occupational risks. He was exposed to a variety of occupational health hazards including needle stick injuries, burnout, job stress and injuries of the musculoskeletal related to the handling of patients. Furthermore, serving as a nurse implied that my grandfather had to be physically present near the patients suffering from different diseases, chronic or acute. Some of these diseases are contagious even after initial treatments hence require seclusion of identified cases, but still, he had to provide evidence-based and personalized care. Ultimately, he stood the risk of contracting different strains of bacterial, viral, and pathogenic infections while attending to his patients.
Health and Safety Issues That My Family Members Encountered
The fact that the health of patients in emergency and intensive care units is so sensitive, sometimes work schedules could not work, as they had to all respond to situations of care at the same time. Without colleagues to take over the shifts, he was exposed to nurse burnout and fatigue, which inevitably would undermine his morale as a caregiver. The sights of patients suffering from a severe condition such as leprosy, major burns, and terminal illnesses imposed on him psychological distress that obviously undermined his perceptions about the value of life. The lack of social support networks to help him cope with the emotional challenges of nursing adversely affected his psychology and his entire social life. In some instances, he got accidentally pricked by needles or cut by some medical equipment. On a busy night shift, my grandfather would stumble on broken medicine bottles and suffer severe cuts, which had to be attended to for a long time to recover. The liquid wastes spilled on the floors of wards and wastes from the patients sometimes made the concrete floors slippery hence he occasionally slipped and fell dangerously.
As a pediatrician, my father too faced almost similar occupational health hazards as the grandfather. Handling sick children and sometimes seeing them die under his watch subjected my dad to emotional distress. He often recounts how he lost value for life when some kids would die at a time when he highly anticipated that they recover fully. He would sometimes work rigorously and overtime to save the lives of critically ill children that exposed him to burnouts. Though most of the diseases that he treated were unique to children only, sometimes he contracted flu, tuberculosis due to the exposure to children with such conditions.
Despite the fact that my father and grandfather worked in different environments, they both had to contend with workplace violence. The senior staff members sometimes assigned them roles outside their designations and coerced them to perform with the risks of dismissal or reduced chances for promotions if they do not do them. The condition resulted not only in their reduced quality of services but also exposed the patients to suffering. Sometimes they even contemplated quitting their jobs and setting up new careers in the more gratifying field such as entrepreneurship.
Short or Long Term Health Consequences from the Work-Family Members Did
The occupational health hazards that both my father and grandfather experienced profoundly affected their lives during and after service. My dad became partially immobilized by the effects of a fall during a night shift where he was responding to an emergency patient. His right ankle twisted when he slipped on a slippery floor making his right leg enter a gaping hole near the patients bed. Also, he spends most of the time alone, often contemplating the suffering that human beings undergo in their lifetime. He is psychologically attuned to seeing people as a crop of suffering creatures. Ideally, he is often hesitant to seek medication or take any of my close relatives to the hospital, especially when they are critically sick. His common argument is that admitting a terminally ill patient is just a means of prolonging their suffering that would rather and if they are left to die early enough.
As a retired pediatrician and with the memories of suffering children, my father has become confrontational when dealing with pregnant women abusing drugs. Also, he has always remained a conservative when controversial discussion issues such as abortion and its imperatives on the women and unborn children. His mindset is always set in a way that seeks to protect the lives of children from potential danger. He is also still undergoing medication to treat tuberculosis that he contracted during his years in service but neither realized it early enough nor sought screening services. Now the disease has subjected him to a daily dosage of anti-tuberculosis drugs.
Significant Political, Economic or Social linked to the Working Conditions
Working in the rural settlements in Los Angeles where populations comprise mainly of poor immigrant famines, my grandfather could not benefit from the national strategies to improve public healthcare sector. The bureaucratic health regulations that do not cover the health of undocumented immigrants who formed the bulk of patients with whom my grandfather attended implied that he had to rely on inadequate infrastructural facilities as compared to those available for legal immigrants in some regions of the country. The inadequate and laxity of state agencies to implement the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to protect inner city health officers increased their vulnerability to bloodborne pathogens through injuries from sharps objects or contact with skin or mucous membranes of the sick. In most cases, there is no real assessment of the real working environments of the community level workers in the inner cities of Los Angeles.
De Castro, A. B., Suzanne L. Cabrera, Gilbert C. Gee, Kaori Fujishiro, and Eularito A. Tagalog. "Occupational health and safety issues among nurses in the Philippines." Aaohn Journal 57, no. 4 (2009): 149-157.
Terry, Daniel, Quynh Le, Uyen Nguyen, and Ha Hoang. "Workplace health and safety issues among community nurses: a study regarding the impact of providing care to rural consumers." BMJ open 5, no. 8 (2015): e008306.
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