Hospital Employees under Pressure to Use Vacation Time

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Hospital Employees under Pressure to Use Vacation Time

“The hospital is practically forcing vacation time down our throats, holding public life as hostage. This is totally absurd.”

These words were spoken by hospital employees from a hospital in Kwangju Province, watching in disbelief the recent conduct of the hospital. Whatever happened to the Hippocratic oath?

The recent walkout by doctors, which currently leaves only 52 administrative doctors out of 166 at the hospital, is causing a serious lack of personnel. However, the hospital is now forcing nurses and other employees to take leave. There is no choice for the nurses working in the dozens of wards, apart from those working in emergency rooms, to use their vacation time according to the strike‘s work schedule which is circled neatly in red on the calendar. The employees explain that they have no real choice when the hospital asks employees to select a date for their vacation.

This goes the same for other employees, such as clinical pathologists and a variety of others who deal with the medical facilties in the hospital, as the whole nation’s medical sector is turned upside down. They pointed out that among the 500 employees, over 160 were forced to take a vacation for a couple of days.

“We feel bad enough for not providing an adequate service for patients, but now we have to take leave in this way,” said one nurse, talking on condition of anonymity.

Owing to this situation, the Korea Nurses Assosiation‘s Kwangju branch even distributed an official document, related to the nightingale’s declaration, which tells nurses not to panic due to the current situation and maintain a diligent work ethic despite the pressure at the workplace.

This was done to encourage nurses to place the good of patients ahead of themselves and act with confidence.

Some hospital officials have rebuffed the complaints, saying, “Some employees voluntarily took leave due to the lack of patients. The hospital never forced anyone to take leave.” But the rumors are bound to be rooted in the truth.

All of this leaves one big question. How will doctors face their patients after the strike? We will have to wait and see.

by Koo Doo-hoon

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