When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

CAIXINMEDIA

A Bogus Cure For Chinese Hospitals: Airline-Style Hostesses

While criticism of medical care in China grows, public hospitals offer a solution that is laughably shallow.

A Bogus Cure For Chinese Hospitals: Airline-Style Hostesses
Zhou Dongxu

-Analysis-

BEIJING — There's a new trend in China's public hospitals: "stewardess nurses," sporting smart uniforms, pretty faces and nice airs while providing services such as greeting people with smiles at the entrance, offering cups of water or opening the elevator door for patients.

Such hospital "innovation" is supposed to provide patients with better service. Yet where a flight attendant learns a whole set of rigorous rules and regulations, and is part of a bona fide security profession, stewardess nurses receive just 10 days of training. More to the point, while China's health reform needs real medicine, patients are getting fed a flight attendant image campaign instead.

The airline stewardess indeed holds a unique image in modern Chinese society. Some governmental departments even make their cleaning ladies wear stewardess clothing as a uniform. A dubious sign of the times within our political class.

The idea to staff hospitals with these figures is also simply a huge waste of public money. Apart from the uniforms and the training of these hostesses, human resources and maintenance costs are being thrown away. We have to ask what is the official motivation behind this.

Care for the nurses

The Chinese government has been promoting medical reform for a long time without actually achieving much. Public hospitals spend so much energy and resources promoting such shallow marketing gimmicks that could have been used to make real changes to their core mission of curing the sick.

To start with, instead of employing women in smart clothes who have no training, nurses should be given better rights and working conditions. Why not simply increase the number of actual nurses in hospitals so they don't have to attend to so many unsatisfied patients?

Violent doctor-patient conflicts resulting in the murder of doctors have been a serious issue in China's hospitals in recent years. Most agree that nurses are uniquely positioned to help resolve small disputes, and help to keep conflicts from turning violent.

Solving the doctor-patient problem with stewardess nurses is like prescribing the wrong medicine for a malady. What Chinese hospitals need is to raise their diagnostic quality, enhance their medical care, and maintain responsibility and service levels to win back the confidence of the nation's patients.

Chinese hospitals' structural reform should be focused on management, personnel and regulation. Even while increasing public investment, the hospitals' corporate autonomy should also be improved with the goal of establishing much more modern hospital management. This would help eliminate the current tendency of Chinese hospitals to rely on the revenue from pharmaceutical sales to sustain their operations.

Undeniably, China's hospital reform involves too many competing interests, which makes it virtually impossible to rely on the hospitals themselves to figure out the reforms they need.

Still, stewardess nurses are clearly not the answer. Real nurses are so much more than their uniforms, and curing the poor image of China's hospitals will require long-term care.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Society

Papá, Papá, On Repeat: Are We Men Ready For Fatherhood To Change Our Lives?

There is a moment on Saturday or Sunday, after having spent ten hours with my kids, that I get a little exasperated, I lose my patience. I find it hard to identify the emotion, I definitely feel some guilt too. I know that time alone with them improves our relationship... but I get bored! Yes, I feel bored. I want some time in the car for them to talk to each other while I can talk about the stupid things we adults talk about.

A baby builds stack of blocks

Ignacio Pereyra*

This is what a friend tells me. He tends to spend several weekends alone with his two children and prefers to make plans with other people instead of being alone with them. As I listened to him, I immediately remembered my long days with Lorenzo, my son, now three-and-a-half years old. I thought especially of the first two-and-a-half years of his life, when he hardly went to daycare (thanks, COVID!) and we’d spend the whole day together.

It also reminded me of a question I often ask myself in moments of boredom — which I had virtually ignored in my life before becoming a father: how willing are we men to let fatherhood change our lives?

It is clear that the routines and habits of a couple change completely when they have children, although we also know that this rarely happens equally.

With the arrival of a child, men continue to work as much or more than before, while women face a different reality: either they double their working day — maintaining a paid job but adding household and care tasks — or they are forced to abandon all or part of their paid work to devote themselves to caregiving.

In other words, "the arrival of a child tends to strengthen the role of economic provider in men (...), while women reinforce their role as caregivers," says an extensive Equimundo report on Latin America and the Caribbean, highlighting a trend that repeats itself in most Western countries.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
Writing contest - My pandemic story
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ