There is a growing worldwide shortage of nurses and other typically female-dominated medical professionals. The acute shortage of nurses in Europe has induced at least one Czechoslovakian clinic to develop a novel—albeit somewhat controversial— approach to retain and recruit hospital personnel. According to an article in today’s New York Times (which was also reported on NPR several weeks ago) “When Petra Kalivodova, a 31-year-old Czechoslovakian nurse, was considering whether to renew her contract at a private health clinic special perks helped clinch the deal: free German lessons, five weeks of vacation, and a range of plastic-surgery options, including complimentary silicone-enhanced breasts.” She opted for cosmetic breast surgery (which normally cost about $3,500) and also had liposuction on her thighs and stomach citing that she her appearance is important to her and her patients. Perhaps, more importantly, she could never have afforded to have the procedures done on her current salary which is lower than most bus drivers. Of the 50 nurses working at the clinic, 10 opted for plastic surgery, while several more were considering it. And, at least one male employee is seriously considering liposuction.
While offering plastic surgery as an inducement to recruit and retain hospital employees is somewhat controversial, it highlights the need to improve the salaries and benefits of nursing and other medical care professionals. In many places in Europe, nurses and other hospital employees make considerably less than bus, truck drivers and other non-technical workers. The same is true in the US which has also been experiencing ongoing nursing shortages. But, hospitals and clinics here have yet to offer plastic surgery options to recruit or retain medical and support staff personnel. Unlike Europe, where cosmetic surgery is booming, plastic surgery procedures have dropped about 9 per cent this year as compared with years past.
Like it or not, cosmetic surgery is an option in today’s world and, accordingly, people ought to have the right to choose whether or not it is right for them. However, it is important to remember that cosmetic surgery is invasive and potentially serious medical complications including infection, disfiguration and death can occur. The fact that 20 per cent of the Czech nurses chose cosmetic surgery over more vacation time or free German lessons may be indicative of the growing pressure placed on both women and men to look young, vibrant and remain sexy. Further, there are marketing and employment studies which suggest that younger more attractive people get hired more easily and advance their careers more rapidly than average, older-looking ones.
When Petra Kalivodova, the 31-year-old Czechoslovakian nurse who opted for breast augmentation and liposuction was asked about her choice she said “People of my mother’s generation look down on me for getting the surgery—“I see it in their eyes. But I don’t care. I did this because I wanted to and I didn’t ask anyone’s permission, including my boyfriend.” I think her comments reflect a changing and growing attitude among women 35 and under who believe that personal choice, feminine beauty and pursuing professional careers are no longer mutually exclusive.
Until next time.
Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!