At least they seem to think so in Texas. For the past year, Citizens Medical Center requires its employees “fit with a representational image or specific mental projection of the job of a healthcare professional,” including having an appearance “free from distraction” for patients. Now, there are a lot of requirements made to people who work in healthcare. I spent enough time employed at a nursing home to find out the creative ways people cover tattoos and piercings, but I never thought weight would be an issue. And I worked with some fat people. I don’t mean it in a negative way, I’m not talking fat like 50 extra pounds, I mean fat. Like an extra person. And you know what? Some of them were the hardest workers I know.
In my experience with hospital and office visits, chubby and plump nurses and doctors have been some of the most professional I’ve ever dealt with, and the most compassionate when it comes to giving care. Am I saying that thin ones aren’t? Not at all. But I think in a medical scenario, the concern should be more on the employee’s knowledge and ability to work than on anything else. When I call my insurance company, do I care whether or not the person who answers is a good driver?
I see nothing in this article indicating that they don’t consider smokers’ applications. Interesting.
Daniel S. Hamermesh, an economics professor at the University of Texas at Austin, warns that this rule may negatively affect the hospital’s ability to obtain and hire skilled and qualified employees. “The policy will exclude some workers who do not appear morbidly obese; as such, it will prevent the hospital from hiring some desirable workers and will limit its ability to attract acceptable employees.”
Citizens Medical Center CEO David Brown told the newspaper that the hospital tries to work with potential employees that are overweight. “We have some people who are applicants and they know the requirements, and we try and help them get there but they’re not interested,” he said. “So that’s fine, they can go work somewhere else.”
I’d love to know what kind of “help” they offer. I’d also love to know how they go about obtaining the BMI. Do they put the person on a scale as if they were a patient? And the next question. Do they do this to everyone? Would someone like Adele be put to the test? She reportedly weighs 165 pounds (even though there are a shit-ton of doubters on that and it didn’t stop Jennifer Hudson for allegedly going up to her at the Grammys and being all ‘hey girl, I used to be heavy too until Weight Watchers saved my life, you should totally come to a meeting with me’). However, even if I round up to my own weight, she’s still under this 35 crap. But in today’s thin-obsessed society, she’s a fat girl. Does everyone know that skinny does not always equal healthy?
Not to mention, anyone who knows anything about BMI knows how insanely flawed it is. First off, it’s a simple and basic ratio of height and weight. It doesn’t factor muscle mass, muscle deterioration, or body fat percentage. For instance, I am admittedly about 45 pounds overweight and at 5 foot 6, my BMI is 32.3. However, my favorite NFL player, who is 6 feet and weighs 239, has a BMI of 32.4. You see that we both have almost the same BMI, though one would (and should) argue that he is clearly in better shape than I. And we’re both dangerously close to that 35 mark that would automatically disqualify us from working at the Citizens Medical Center, even as data entry desk jockeys.