The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the world by storm and has become the focal cause of worry for every country. The coronavirus disease has touched, affected and changed the way of life for everyone regardless of which nation, race, continent or socioeconomic group they belong to.
Unfortunately, the patients’ pouring into hospitals and healthcare facilities has no sign of turning into a trickle in the near future. The disease can rapidly spread in people and cause severe symptoms that need immediate and effective medical care. That is taking a toll on the healthcare facilities because there are just not enough beds, ventilators or healthcare professionals. Currently, the healthcare staff in hospitals are on double shifts and working to their maximum capacity.
Anxiety Faced by Health Care Professionals and Its Sources
- Fears and concerns of healthcare professionals
- The kind of behavior they needed from their leaders
- The kind of tangible support they thought would help them
- Possible lack of access to protective gear
- Possible exposure to COVID-19 by attending patients and infecting their families
- Lack of quick testing in case of exposure to COVID-19 and infecting the workplace
- Uncertainty on the organization’s reaction to their personal and family needs in case of infection
- Access to childcare during increased workload, work hours and school shutdown.
- Support for personal needs because of long work hours (food, transportation, accommodation)
- Ability to provide proficient medical care if positioned to a new area
- Lack of access to the latest information and communication
How You Can Help/Support the Health Care Professionals
- Creating feedback channels like listening groups, town halls, email suggestion boxes so that health care professionals feel their voice is affecting the decision-making process. Healthcare professionals must feel heard.
- Providing adequate personal protective equipment and offering access to testing facilities if the symptoms of the disease show up. Healthcare professionals can be given information on how to prevent taking the infection home. Healthcare professionals must feel protected.
- Providing training, access to a critical knowledge base, backup and other experts. Healthcare professionals must feel prepared.
- Providing support for physical needs like healthy meals and water during work hours. For emotional and psychological support, organizations can set up webinars with psychologists touching topics of anxiety, insomnia, fear and moral distress. Healthcare professionals must feel supported.
- Providing lodging support to health care professionals who live far away, child care support, paid time off in case of infection. Healthcare professionals must feel cared for.
What Health Care Professionals Want from Their Leaders
Lastly, one cannot deny the poignancy of a genuine expression of gratitude. Gratitude, because healthcare professionals are willing to put themselves in possible danger for their patients. The final unsaid request that healthcare professionals would have is to honor them. A genuine expression of gratitude and acknowledgment of their selfless effort can be very powerful and reinforce their compassion to overshadow their fears and anxiety in these difficult times.
But let’s remember: gratitude needs to be expressed and made believable by visible action plans that allow all healthcare professionals to feel heard, protected, prepared, supported and cared for.
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