A TikToker who works as a surgical resident highlighted the mysterious pricing in the American healthcare system, claiming that a scrub technician makes $80 an hour preparing for a procedure, while a surgical resident makes only $12 dollars per hour would be received.
The video is from Dr. Daisy Sanchez, a TikTok influencer with more than 1.2 million followers. The short video, which was posted Dec. 30 and has garnered more than 5.3 million people as of Friday, shows a scrub technician at work with the on-screen caption: “Earning $80 an hour at the Setup of Operations”. It then cuts to Sanchez in her white doctor’s coat with the caption, “Earn $12/hour on surgeries.”
As it turns out, the scrub tech is also a TikToker — namely Liloledeja, who has a respectable following of just over 50,000 and a string of viral videos to her credit.
While Sanchez, who is calling out the inequality, could be seen as critical of the healthcare system, she also encourages scrub techs to “get their bags.” A caption for the video, aimed at Liloledeja, reads, “Girls yes! Get your money” with an attached heart emoji.
@thedaisysanchez @Liloledeja CST ♬ Funny – gold tiger
The video attracted a number of commenters who underscored Sanchez’s support for scrub techs making so much money.
“I look at the comments to find the best path in medicine with good pay and less stress,” said one commenter inspired to make a career change.
Another shared a scrub tech experience, claiming, “Scrub tech here. True, if you are a traveling technician, you will earn up to 80-90 [an] Hour!”
That inspired Sanchez to reply, “I had no idea but I love this for you!”
Other commenters countered that while scrub technicians are paid well, they typically don’t the Well. One remarked: “Don’t let the payment fool you, that’s usually only for travellers. My hospital has a $27 cap.”
An obvious question raised by the video was the comparatively low $12 an hour that Sanchez said she is being paid to actually perform the surgeries. According to Indeed – in an article titled “How Much Do Surgical Residents Earn?” – “The average medical professional made $61,200 in 2019,” although it may be slightly higher in some specialties. The article pointed out that “Plastic surgery and aesthetic medicine residents earn $65,600 and specialty surgery residents have an average annual salary of $65,700.”
According to Sanchez’s match, someone earning that salary would work about 98 hours a week for the wage to total $12 an hour. This is not implausible given the demands placed on residents and surgeons. But it’s also not advisable by industry standards; Per Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education guidelines, residents are recommended a maximum of 80 hours per week.
As this organization notes in online literature, “Programs and residents have a shared responsibility to ensure that the weekly limit of 80 hours is not exceeded. Although the requirement was written with the intention of allowing residents to stay beyond their scheduled work hours to care for a patient or participate in an educational activity, those extra hours must be accounted for in the allotted 80 hours if they are over be averaged for four weeks.”
The Daily Dot emailed Sanchez for comment.
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*Initial publication: January 27, 2023 13:52 CST
Phil West is a veteran professional writer and editor and the author of two books on soccer, The United States of Soccer and I Believe That We Will Win, both from The Overlook Press. His work has most recently appeared in The Striker, where he serves as Editor-in-Chief, MLSSoccer.com, Next City and Texas Highways. He lives in Austin and is also an instructor in the Writing Program at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
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