Ashley Nope* landed her dream job at 18, assisting in an operating room. “It has always been my dream to work at a children’s hospital,” she said in a TikTok video.
Growing up, Ashley’s little sister had a medical condition that required more than 30 procedures. A local children’s hospital saved her life time and time again, but eventually, she passed away. From that day on, Ashley dreamed of working in that hospital to provide other families with the same top-quality care that her own sister had received.
When she landed a job assisting in the operating room, she was over the moon—and then COVID hit. Ashley felt called to travel the country and work in hospitals that were suffering from staffing shortages. It was financially rewarding and helped other communities fill a dire need.
It was always supposed to be temporary. But when Ashley checked the surgical board to view her final assignment before taking leave, her heart sank.
She was expected to help with a “gender-reassignment surgery” for a 13-year-old child. “I realized they had placed me in the surgery that I morally will not do,” she explained in a TikTok video.
“I have nothing against the people who choose these surgeries,” Ashley said. “I have people in my family who have these surgeries.” But this was a children’s hospital. And this kid was 13.
“It just seemed so wrong to me, to do something like that to a child, where they cannot consent on their own,” she explained.
Ashley’s boss was aware of her objection to “gender-reassignment surgeries” on minors, and the hospital had other surgical techs who were willing and able to participate on Ashley’s behalf.
Even so, the supervisor let her know that if she didn’t help with the surgery, she would be let go and left on bad terms with the children’s hospital, and the entire hospital system at large.
It was devastating on multiple levels. “I wanted nothing more than to work at this hospital for the rest of my life,” Ashley lamented. Even if she returned home and could not work at the children’s hospital, being on bad terms with the whole system would make getting a job in her home state extremely hard.
Ashley is also pregnant with a baby girl, and has her family to think about and provide for. “At the end of the day, I still refused to do this surgery,” she says. “[My boss] let me know that I needed to go in, return my badge, and to never come back.”
The next day, Ashley flew out to Florida and started traveling for work, and she’s been doing it ever since.
*Ashley Nope is the TikTok handle of the surgical tech.