Providing Meaningful Support to Healthcare Workers
July 21, 2020
By Tyler Arvig, PsyD, LP
Associate Medical Director
What it feels like to work in a healthcare setting during this pandemic depends on who you ask. For some, the shifts are greater and more stressful than ever before. For others, the work just isn’t there. Despite all the talk of filling hospitals and medical facilities, this relates almost exclusively to COVID-19, and not other areas of hospitals that are normally made busy by elective and other procedures. It’s feast or famine, except those who are feasting are doing so with the ever-present risk of exposure to COVID-19. Meanwhile, hospitals are feeling the pain of lack of income, meaning that employees’ pay may be at risk. A greater risk to health with a potential for less pay is hardly a good position. Yet this is where many, inside and outside of healthcare, find themselves.
We need to be thinking about these employees and their struggles. Whether it be a COVID unit nurse who is working 12 hour shifts, or a surgical nurse who is struggling to make ends meet. Both are apt to be experiencing distress, and both are at risk for developing behavioral health concerns. Both are vital to the operation of the hospital and patient care. Neither have asked to be in their current position, and neither know when the current struggles may end.
In the current climate, it may seem like a low priority to worry about providing support to staff. After all, there are so many more pressing issues. I would suggest that this should be one of the most pressing issues on your docket. For those who are working, supporting the behavioral health of your workforce goes beyond the intrinsic benefit to your employees; it means helping to provide better patient care, to have a more productive staff, and to ensure that staff are able to be truly focused on the job at hand, minimizing risk to patient or staff safety. For those who are not working, it means supporting them in a challenging time, so that when the time comes to return to the worksite, they are successful.
This is a challenging time for all, but none so much as those who are providing vital health services. As we count on them to attend to the health of others, remember to provide the support they need to do their job. Your medical facility may have existing resources- help people to use them. There are also a variety of other options you have to provide targeted support to your staff. We at R3c do this every hour of every day. If you feel like you need more than is currently available, or are struggling with behavioral health issues of employees, consider giving us a call. If there ever was a time to pull out all the stops in supporting your employees, it is surely right now.
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