Problematic on TikTok is a weekly column that unpacks the troubling trends that are emerging on the popular platform and runs on Tuesdays in the Daily Dot’s web_crawlr newsletter. If you want to get this column a day before we publish it, subscribe to web_crawlr, where you’ll get the daily scoop of internet culture delivered straight to your inbox.
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TikTok loves “the ick.” The term, commonly used in the context of dating and relationships, describes a behavior or instance that someone finds annoying or unattractive. For example, if you’re dating someone new and they are rude to service workers, that might give you “the ick.” And the term’s hashtag, #TheIck, has over a billion views on TikTok.
Some nurses and other medical professionals got in on the long-lasting trend and shared patient behavior that they find bothersome. In a TikTok, urgent care staff shared that their “icks” are when a patient misqualifies their temperature as having a fever; patients moving their arms when getting their blood pressure checked; and coming to Urgent Care with chest pain, among other things.
And in a TikTok that’s made countless headlines, Atlanta labor and delivery nurses listed their “icks,” which included pregnant patients asking to shower before being induced into labor, refusing an epidural while experiencing intense pain, and asking how much their baby weighs before it’s been weighed.
Why it matters
Many found both TikToks to be super insensitive, a message that seems to have been communicated to the medical professionals who made them—the videos have now been deleted off the accounts on which they were originally posted and were reposted by another TikToker.
TikTokers called the labor and delivery nurses “unprofessional,” lacking compassion, unsupportive, judgemental, and careless; the urgent care workers were deemed privileged and ignorant by commenters. Chloé Adams-Gibbs, a midwife and doula, said that comments made by the labor and delivery nurses showed that they aren’t trauma informed and have a “disgusting” attitude toward working with pregnant people.
Others took their thoughts to Twitter and tweeted about how nurses need to have compassion and empathy for their patients, given the immense power they wield.
“[A] Black nurse making an ick video ESPECIALLY a labor and delivery nurse knowing damn well black women face more complications during birth and pregnancy more than other demographics is ignorant asf,” @tashazlll tweeted.
“My ick [is when]… people who have a terrible power over people who are most vulnerable— display this level of disdain, mockery, indifference,” @megankstack tweeted.
The moral of the story? Keep your workplace lamentations regarding people experiencing crisis between you and your coworkers, especially if you work in healthcare. If not, you could risk losing your job.