Despite Burnout, These California Health Care Workers Aren’t Quitting – The New York Times

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California Today
Nurses and doctors say they don’t want to abandon their co-workers or their patients.

As I explored in yesterday’s newsletter, nurses and doctors in California are burned out.
Though Covid-19 hospitalizations appear to be peaking in California and remain substantially lower than during last winter’s surge, health care workers have been toiling in uncertain and stressful conditions for nearly two years.
Coronavirus cases surge, new variants appear and shortages of protective gear, medicines and staff continually emerge.
Still, a majority of health workers who wrote to us said that despite their frustrations, they didn’t plan to leave their jobs.
They don’t want to let down their co-workers or abandon their patients. They want to combat misinformation, administer Covid-19 vaccines and, as much as possible, help others.
Here’s what they shared about how they’re coping with this latest surge and why they keep showing up at work:
“As the daughter of an Army veteran, a sense of duty was instilled in me at a young age. I am a nurse and have worked in a hospital setting for over 20 years; I can’t leave health care during its greatest need.
I love my co-workers. We’ve already been through three waves together — we will get through this one as well.” — Laura Maffeo, registered nurse, Anaheim
“My family is fully vaccinated and we no longer worry about getting seriously ill, especially with this recent variant. As long as schools are open and we have that support for our kids, we feel that we (my wife is also a physician) will get through this. We have to.” — Dr. George Spanos, radiologist, Los Angeles
“The only thing that keeps me going is the need. I am a retired pharmacist who went back to work just to increase the availability of vaccinations (of every sort).
I spend time combating misinformation, making the vaccination experience comfortable and praising the recipients who join me in uplifting the community well-being.”— Sandra Bardas, clinical pharmacist, Menlo Park
“I have a mortgage payment, little kids in school and a husband who lost his job. I’m the financial backbone of my family, and I’m fortunate to make a salary that enables us to cover our bills. I really don’t know what else I would do, so I make the best of it.” — Jenny Burnett, registered nurse, Concord
“My co-workers and I keep each other going by supporting, finding humor in things, being good listeners. This is a job where you are always needed.” — Lindsey Stover, registered nurse, Los Angeles
“My hospital sees very underserved patients who have very little interaction with the health care systems, and these are the patients I’ve committed myself to serving.
My colleagues and fellow staff keep me going each day. It’s always a great time being with them. Seeing how generous my co-workers are — watching them give so much of themselves for their work and their community — inspires me to keep going alongside them.” — Dr. Jessica Martin Moreno, emergency medicine resident, Fresno
“Our nurses need to not feel more abandoned than they already are. I see how hard they’re working, that they keep showing up, and it keeps me showing up.” — Joanna Mello, assistant nurse manager, Sacramento
“As an Indigenous woman, I’m just trying to do my best to help my people and others like us survive this pandemic. I’m doing good work in a community health center that tries to help the most vulnerable. And even if I get death threats or scorn and yelled at by those who misunderstand what we’re doing, my family sees me. And loves me.
And I can come home every night knowing that in my last days, I’ll have done everything I could to keep my loved ones, and yours, safe.” — Dr. Kalamaoka’aina Niheu, family medicine, Albany
Yes, Omicron is loosening its hold. But the pandemic has not ended.
A 15-month-old in Los Angeles County died of Covid, officials announced Wednesday.
Four factors that may increase chances of long Covid.
The latest coronavirus case map of the United States.
“Jeopardy!”: The New York Times profiled Amy Schneider, an Oakland resident who is the most successful woman to compete on “Jeopardy!” How did she feel when her 40-game streak ended on Wednesday?
“It wasn’t just a feeling of sadness, there was a sense of relief,” Schneider said. “It was so exhausting.”
Supreme Court: On President Biden’s short list for replacing Justice Stephen G. Breyer is a 45-year-old justice on the California Supreme Court.
Junk science: State lawmakers moved to deter questionable testimony from being admissible, The Associated Press reports.
Standardized testing: California State University may eliminate the SATs and the ACTs from its admissions process, The Associated Press reports.
Phaseout of oil drilling: The Los Angeles City Council approved a measure to ban new oil and gas wells and phase out existing ones, The Associated Press reports.
Kobe Bryant: There is now a bronze statue of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna at the site where they were killed when the helicopter they were in crashed, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Butterfly count: California’s monarch butterfly population has made a significant rebound, The Associated Press reports.
Gun insurance law: The San Jose City Council voted to require gun owners to carry liability insurance and take part in other safety programs intended to reduce gun violence.
Real estate: They bought a house in the Bay Area sight unseen. Which one would you choose?
John Arrillaga Sr.: The real estate developer, who physically transformed Silicon Valley, died on Monday in Portola Valley. He was 84.

Cinnamon apple quick bread.
Today’s travel tip comes from Judith Lehman, who recommends Fern Canyon in Humboldt County:
“Walk up a canyon stream surrounded by 50-foot walls of ferns — a primeval dream scene that never fails to amaze my visiting friends.
My whole existence in Humboldt County, from my house in the redwoods, the many ocean beaches, the six rivers and the snow-topped mountains viewed from sunny winter beaches, is like living in the middle of a painting. As an artist, even a trip to a small local grocery store is a mini-vacation.”
Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.
We’re adding to our California Soundtrack, a playlist of songs that are about or evoke the Golden State.
If you have a suggestion, please email me at with the name of the song and a few sentences about why you think it should make the cut.
Even a pandemic couldn’t stop a birthday celebration for Elizabeth Fischle, a World War II veteran known as Gena who turned 98 over the weekend.
Fischle, who lives near San Diego, enlisted in the Coast Guard in the early 1940s after she saw a recruiting poster of Uncle Sam saying, “We Want You.”
She worked at a unit in Seattle, but when the war ended in 1945 she was told there was no funding to keep her on active duty, ABC 10News San Diego reports.
“I would have stayed in if the military had kept me,” she said.
On Sunday, Fischle watched as her family and members of Honor Flight San Diego, a nonprofit supporting veterans, drove past her home and honked, cheered and wished her the best.
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Soumya
P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: First state to ratify the U.S. Constitution: Abbr. (3 letters).
Briana Scalia and Mariel Wamsley contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at
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