Many hospital staff workers are feeling worn out, and there’s a new term for that: COVID-19 burnout.
There are a few things contributing to this. The first is the increased number of COVID-19 patients being admitted into hospitals, and the second reason is the length of time these frontline workers have been battling this pandemic.
There’s a constant wall of pressure for nurses and doctors to care for their patients across Illinois.
“The kinship you feel when you’re taking care of them, it’s very real, and when you lose them, it’s like you almost lose family,” said Chicago Medical ICU Nurse Jeanette Alvarez-Basem. “Honestly, how can you shake that off?”
Healthcare workers say they’ve been dealing with daily stress from battling the pandemic for over eight months.
“There’s a sadness that blooms over you,” Alvarez-Basem said. “You can’t shake it off, you can’t wash it off, you can’t scream it away. It’s just there.”
Other healthcare employee at SIU Medicine told Newschannel20 and FOX Illinois they are feeling the same thing and hope more can be done to help employees experiencing the COVID-19 burnout.
“There can be a sense of defeat and many people are falling ill themselves while working and you are out of resources,” said SIU Medicine Physician Dr. Allyne Topaz. “I would be lying if we weren’t burnt out.”
Frontline workers also say they’re battling a high number of COVID-19 cases along with the mental and physical stress of coworkers who’ve also contracted the virus.
“No one wants to lose another nurse, colleague, and friend that we’ve known forever,” Alvarez-Basem said. “It’s a constant worry.”
The National Nurses United organization reported more than 1,700 healthcare workers have died from COVID-19.
While many are tired, stressed, fatigued, and overworked, they continue to make their patients a priority.
“Time doesn’t afford us, because an empty room means a room open for another patient,” Alvarez-Basem said. “We understand that, but we don’t let the family feel that. We do everything in our power to let them understand that they are a priority, whether it’s a few minutes, that hour, those two hours.”
Medical leaders also added that they can’t fight this virus alone. They need the community to do their part and follow health guidelines, especially as we head into the holidays.