Health Care Assistant Pens Moving Facebook Post Defending Her Occupation
Charmaine Briggs, a health care worker from Taunton in the U.K., wrote a blistering Facebook in defense of her profession — and it has quickly gone viral.
According to Briggs’ writing, the impetus for the post came from an encounter she and a friend had with a stranger at a cafe.
She explained to the Somerset County Gazette, “I was in a coffee shop in the queue talking to a friend and she asked how my nursing was going and if I was still enjoying it. I said it was really good, I was getting good experience moving around with placement but the money was hard. Then, a man behind us who I did not know, and nor did my friend, asked ‘why would you want to be a nurse and wipe bums for a living? You may as well be just a HCA.‘”
The 23-year-old told the paper that she was initially too shocked at the comment to respond. However, she couldn’t move past the comments.
“The words went around my head all day and to think people see it as ‘just a HCA’ really got to me,” she said.
Later that evening, Charmaine Briggs crafted her Facebook post. She began by briefly describing the cafe encounter, before getting to the heart of the matter. She wrote in part:
This made my blood boil. No one is “just a HCA” for a start, I’ve been a health care assistant before being a student nurse and you are your patients only support in some cases. We are the staff with the patients 24/7. We are the ones changing the beds, changing our own clothes for the fourth time due to other people’s bodily fluids, the ones mopping up the nosebleeds and cleaning commodes on a loop. We are up close and personal with our patients – we hold their hands when they fear the unknown, we listen to them when they need someone to talk to, we’ve cried with them. We work around the clock 365 days of the year, we sometimes sit with patients who have no family so they simple don’t pass away alone. It is physically and emotionally challenging, and one day you’ll need that help from “just a health care assistant” not just when you’re old, you don’t know what tomorrow holds.
Briggs wrote the post on January 10, and in the week since it’s virally exploded. As of January 18, the post has over 120,000 reactions, 44,000 shares, and 17,000 comments that are near universal in their support.
Perhaps the viral reaction to Briggs’ post is a sign that Health Care Assistants are gaining more respect than they currently get. According to Payscale, the median salary for HCAs in the U.K. is only £7.29 per hour. U.S. workers in the field don’t do much better, with a median of $13.00 an hour, which puts roughly 50 percent of American HCAs near the minimum wage.
Your Daily Dish has reached out to Charmaine Briggs for comment.