The COVID-19 pandemic has taught many lessons to all of us. It has reminded us of the value of health, family, community, and freedom. In the healthcare sector, the most affected by this crisis; lessons learned by front-line healthcare workers and caregivers will forever change the way they perform their duties, interact with patients, and take care of themselves.
In this article, four local caregivers and front-line healthcare workers share the biggest lessons they have learned during the pandemic, and offer advice for other healthcare workers and the general public.
“One thing I have learned about this pandemic is the power of compassion and kindness. We are all going through a very difficult time right now so working as a community and understanding the importance of doing your part is crucial. I’ve also learned that your attitude plays a major role, as well as being kind to the people around you changes the atmosphere into a more positive one despite the current circumstances” – Covid Symptom Screener at St Joseph.
“I’ve learned you need to check in with yourself frequently and take a step back when needed. Due to high staffing demands and higher demands at work, it is very easy to get burnt out. You need to keep yourself healthy in order to provide quality care to those in need. I have been working overtime for months and am now feeling the effects of it. My body hurts and I am mentally exhausted. I feel that if I have recognized I was starting to feel this way and took a step back from working overtime it could have been prevented. I also think it is important to have something outside of work that will keep you motivated and positive. It's important to leave work at work and be able to go home and focus on yourself. Reach out to your coworkers if you are feeling overwhelmed at work, they are a creative resource and can help you remember that we are all in this together” – Nurse from London, Ontario.
“During this pandemic, I have learned that it’s important to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. When a physician or patient is being difficult or showing challenging behaviours, I make sure to keep in mind that I don’t know what they are going through personally and how it may be affecting their mood.” – RN at London health science Centre.
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“Based on my own experience as a front-line worker, I would advise other front-line workers to prioritize their wellbeing such as mental health. Feeling burnt out is a major occurrence happening in the hospital right now so understanding that rest is just as important to continue to fight and do your job. Some advice I would tell the public on how to stop the spread of the virus quite simply comes down to wearing a mask and avoiding unnecessary trips outside the house. Also, I advise them to be kind because everyone is going through a difficult time right now, so kindness and compassion are important.” – Covid Symptom Screener at St Joseph.
“For other healthcare workers I have this advice that definitely helped me out: I found it beneficial to reduce my social media usage as well as my intake of the daily news. I found that scrolling Instagram and the news, subconsciously, put me in a negative mindset and my anxiety increased substantially. It’s important to stay informed but at the end of the day, if something is so imperative to know, you will likely hear about it through work or trusted sources of information” – Nurse from London, Ontario.
“In general, to help stop the spread of the virus, I would say follow the provincial guidelines. Specifically, if you are experiencing any symptoms, stay home until you feel better! You may feel as though you can go to work with a simple runny nose, but it is important to reduce the transmission and just stay home until you are symptom-free. It is also very important that employers are understanding of this and don’t guilt-trip their employees for taking sick days during this time.” – RN at London health science Centre.
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