The pandemic is the worst time for people in the medical profession. Experts believe that they are the most stressed as compared to any other period in recent history. Due to the COVID-19, the intensity level in hospitals is very high, and the workload has led to an increase in anxiety among doctors. They are also scared of their own and their family’s safety and many are just thankful that they have a PPE.
Doctors, nurses, cleaning staff, technicians and others on the front lines of healthcare have been emotionally affected and the effects linger on beyond their job hours. Study suggests that many are going through insomnia, face low energy levels and are now finding it difficult to concentrate. The burnout rate and the risk of burnout have been high in healthcare since the past decade and coronavirus crisis has only exacerbated it.
Experts believe that healthcare workers are bound to feel emotionally intense moments in these days and must take steps to manage them. This is important as reacting to these moments not just affects their current performance, but also tends to affect their overall mental health.
Considering the amount of focus on the patients, self-diagnostics is often hard for healthcare workers. All the medical training that they receive including medical school, residency, and fellowship is focused on patient care and not about self-care at all. This is a time, where the need of care is required the most and it is a healthcare professional’s skills that can help, but doctors and nurses tend to dismiss their own needs and neglect sleep and even visiting the bathroom. While healthcare professionals keep themselves together during their duty hours, this neglect can lead to them snapping a family member at home. They also face trouble sleeping and relaxing, which leads to a bad workday the next morning and the cycle continues. Self-attention, self-care and self-indulgence are essential so that healthcare workers can continue to serve and help.
Experts suggest some tips for healthcare frontline workers to get through these difficult times. They suggest that reflective activities like journaling can help nurses and doctors more aware of what they are going through. Another self – awareness activity is asking questing to self like – am I hungry or thirsty? While it is difficult to find time for that during duty hours, common activities like hand washing can be used as an opportunity for a self-care check-in and a moment of mindfulness.
Psychiatrists also suggest the technique ‘Name to Tame.’ There are claims that naming emotions leads to a shift in the activity in the brain from the emotional centre towards the higher-order prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain is responsible for insights, creativity, and reframing of issues. The words that are chosen to describe experiences to self can change the emotional state of mind.
Experts opine that self-awareness is important for leaders too, as they set the emotional tone for people around them. A stressed and reactive chief in a hospital can lead to frazzled nurses, physicians, and technologists. It is essential to not let any personal fear, anxiety, or stress transmit to those around.
It’s critical for professionals in healthcare, especially in times of crisis, to pay attention to their emotional lives to remain effective and healthy themselves.