Pandemic Burnout- We are Tired! So Let’s Talk About it

Often I get emails inviting me to attend healthcare burnout conferences. These emails usually state common reasons for burnout in healthcare and at the very end, a few helpful tips to reduce burnout. Thank you!

But, who’s really keeping track of healthcare burnout? Rather, pandemic burnout?

Imagine you spent your entire life thinking about how much change you want in the world and how you can do your part. You graduate, find a job, and start working. You work 10-12 hours a day during the pandemic to provide service, but your biggest hindrance is your patients.

We are constantly bombarded with the need to attend to patients, answer questions, round, telemedicine visits, clinic, N95, goggles. We move quickly from one location in the hospital to another to deliver excellent care. We take pride in caring for our patients and have a sense of fulfillment whenever they recover. A sense of sadness when they pass away. But has anyone stopped and examined the impact the pandemic has on our healthcare team; nurses, doctors, NP, PA, residents, physical therapist, occupational therapists, respiratory therapy, Xray technicians, environmental service workers, and cafeteria staff?

I know this issue is a work in progress. But can we take a moment and highlight the struggles of healthcare workers across the world. We see the picture and watch the videos, yet there seems to be a lack of responsibility to healthcare workers during the pandemic.

Experience of frontline worker
Continued experience from frontline worker

The Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality has listed some of the key factors leading to burnout. Burnout can cause a shortage of healthcare accessibility for patients. Furthermore, burnout leads to the inattentiveness of physicians and other members of a healthcare team.

Now, couple the demands of your career and family life. The balancing of family responsibilities, deadlines, and charting. Add your children into the mix, and by the end of the night, you are depleted.

You wake up the next morning to do it all over again.

This is the cycle.

You can put on your TV, watch the news and listen to the pleas of healthcare workers locally and across the world asking for social distancing and wearing a mask. Simply seeking light at the end of the tunnel after a long and grueling day.

This was our 2020! We look at 2021 with lots of hope and bright eyes. However, the 1st of January does not erase the issues of 2020. It takes an active and concerted effort of ALL to bring about needed changes.

Frontline workers detailed experience after a busy day

Things we can do to help with Pandemic/ Healthcare burnout

  1. Check in on your healthcare friends. If they work at a hospital or clinic, they are under an unbelievable amount of stress
  2. As best, follow the guidelines outlined for COVID-19. Wear a mask and follow rules of social distancing
  3. Consider getting your COVID vaccine once it is available to you.
  4. Be patient – when you arrive for medical care- waiting rooms may be filled, providers are running behind, staff shortages are present. They are doing the best to care for all.

So do patients owe healthcare provider and staff anything?

My answer is a simple and resounding “yes!” – common support is the bare minimum.

This post is a dedication to my fellow healthcare workers, friends, and family. To my friends in Urgent Care, ER and ICU.

We truly love our patients and want the best for them. As tired as healthcare workers may be, there’s no other job we would rather do.

Helpful Resources:

  1. TheHappyMD
  2. AAFP Foundation
  3. American Medical Academy
Mask Up my friends. Show your support by wearing your mask.

10 Comments

  1. That’s right prevention is better than cure .Let’s mask up and mobilize each one teach to wear one so we can stop the spread .Thanks for all you do for all humanity that come in contact with you .Keep up the good job .Kudos to you and all who work with you for you are all champions of care.

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  2. If only people could listen and follow the health guidelines as stipulated by world health organizations, this pandemic would have been contained and brought ease to health facilities and health workers, thus dealing with crucial cases. This post is a call to order, bravo! Jaara💪

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      1. Home country is Kenya😊, COVID has had its share of negative effects with death toll rising, economy on its knees since the first case was announced here. But so far have seen improvements on healthcare with the homebased care program assisting to ease congestion in healthcare facilities. Economy has improved with the help of financial incentives to kickstart businesses and ease off on those who had taken loans. So far normalcy is bit by bit coming back, but this can only be attributed to following up the required guidelines for Covid-19 prevention .

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  3. I live in the US and definitely we are affected.
    In Guyana there has been some changes such as curfew and social distancing, although low compliance at times.

    Like

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