Articles & Experts

Thank You, Healthcare Workers

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

by Andrew Harms

Since our last monthly article, I spent more time in hospital rooms and hallways interacting with healthcare workers than I had any time prior — for great and happy reasons. My wife and I welcomed a daughter, our first child, and received wonderful care from Georgetown University Hospital, a teaching hospital nestled into one of the oldest neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. We are so thankful and so overjoyed. Our appreciation for healthcare workers remains at an all-time high.

Sentiments of thanks are timelessly applicable to healthcare workers yet much less noticeable than during the early days of the pandemic era. My travels throughout the U.S. anecdotally confirm that declining visibility of signs of appreciation are not isolated to my local surroundings.

Just two years ago, the signs were evident everywhere you looked. “Thank You, Healthcare Workers”

Murals and billboards adorning buildings, posters on public transportation vehicles, signage in front yards and prints on personal apparel — the loud and communal response of appreciation toward healthcare teams serving on the frontlines of pandemic care were voluminous across the United States. Rightly and deservedly so.

I suppose one could argue that the draw-down in visible support is an indication we’ve collectively made it through the most difficult times — that frontline workers succeeded and continue to succeed in their efforts. A good thing. On the other hand, dwindling public reminders of the determined and consistent efforts to care for communities during pandemic peaks may signal a somber retracement to a state of underappreciation for healthcare workers.

Let's hope that’s not the case. We know the effort to care for patients, families and communities by the U.S. healthcare team is never ending if not ever-increasing.

To friends, family and colleagues in healthcare, the busy hospital hallway scenes probably appear normal and familiar. To a patient or visitor to a hospital, the scenes may seem surreal (especially after two years of laying low and spending more time near home). Patients with all ailments experiencing medical conditions of all varieties, people of great diversity in age and background, coming together in a mix reminiscent of Union Station or a busy airport terminal. All descending on the hospital seeking care and comfort from healthcare providers.

In the month since my daughter’s birth, our family of three made visits to the hospital for two-day, two-week, and month-out newborn appointments, as well as one visit to a specialist and some follow-ups for mother. In this context, I’ve been thinking and speaking to providers through the lens of a new (sometimes overwhelmed) father and yet also as co-founder of ScrubMoney.

Each month, ScrubMoney’s articles appearing in Physicians Office Resource direct our readers to topics related to physician personal finance — in most cases, topics with ubiquitous applicability to healthcare workers of all specializations. We hope these short articles may offer readers some helpful perspective, perhaps a takeaway or two if not a call to action and change in behavior. We’ve written previously on subjects pertaining to perspectives and outlook toward one’s own finances (i.e. finding happiness), the unique circumstances of physician personal finances, and tips on budgeting. We hope you’ll continue to look forward to our commentary each month going forward.

We know physicians and medical professionals are up to the challenge of combating and navigating the personal financial space with the same resolve we witnessed in the response to the pandemic and as we see every single day in the hallways of hospitals. We know this because the appreciation that medical professionals have for one another is not an ebbing or perhaps fleeting sentiment. Today as ever, medical professionals are pulling together and tackling the most difficult challenges to improve all types of situations. It's a type of determination unique to this group, appreciated and respected among this group.

Medical professionals are a smart, detail-oriented, solution-based membership body capable of overcoming the most difficult problems. So why is it that personal financial matters so often create stumbling blocks, frustrations and a source of burnout?

There appears good research and plenty written about the need for better understanding of personal finances in the world of healthcare providers. Yet when walking the halls of a hospital, a provider may wonder “who’s got time for this?” or “I wish I had a better understanding of personal finance,” or worse yet, “where is all my money going?”

We understand. In forming ScrubMoney, in appreciation for healthcare workers, we brought together physicians at all stages of their careers to better support healthcare professionals with their personal financial journeys.

So where should a physician uncertain about personal financial matters begin? We suggest starting with a basic educational experience, one that addresses the most important personal financial matters. We recognize learning is an ongoing process and encourage each reader to learn the basics of personal finance through building blocks that are appropriate to each person’s situation.

To best enable healthcare professionals to improve their personal financial health, ScrubMoney is busy developing and delivering a free mobile app to provide an individualized, interactive and on-demand personal finance education. Our curriculum spans from the essentials to more actionable elements of personal finance. We favor a quality curriculum accessible for medical professionals who are always on the go.

We hope a better understanding of personal financial matters and an improvement in literacy will inspire physicians to take control of one’s own personal financial pathway. Creating a plan to overcome educational debts, designing a clear method to save and invest over time — these are the fruits of a person empowered with a goal of financial wellness. We know healthcare professionals are well-suited to achieve this goal. Time management, focus, determination, study and preparation are traits ingrained in the fabric of healthcare workers. We encourage all to make actionable plans and follow smart to-do lists, reducing the mental load of debt repayment and financial planning in order to stay on track over time.

We know at some point a physician or healthcare professional may certainly need financial assistance from a qualified and trusted expert in a specialized financial field. Financial resources and qualified professionals supportive of physician financial wellness are available. Very often, though, these much-needed outlets are inaccessible due to providers’ training and attending schedules that may approach near-burnout levels. Whereas ScrubMoney is physician-built and physician-focused, we aim to provide support in finding the most suitable and trustworthy service providers. We encourage medical professionals to connect with resources that may already be available to them through their affiliated schools, employers and institutional relationships.

While public displays of support for healthcare workers may have weathered and waned from their highs, we know appreciation and support within the healthcare fields will always remain strong. Together we will strive to empower medical school students, residents, attendings and institutions to tackle the persistent challenge of how-to better address managing rising educational debts, insufficient time for personal financial education and seek creative solutions to enable access to needed financial help.

We believe a great way to say “Thank You” to yourselves as healthcare workers is to afford yourself a bright financial future through timely education and trusted resources. We’re excited to find stakeholders in medicine that are eager to solve these challenges as well. You – our healthcare team – are very much deserving of financial wellness.