Though many of us have grown tired of talking about the pandemic, healthcare workers continue to push forward in the midst of total burnout. Their work has not ended; their load has not lightened.
Over the course of the pandemic, more than 30% of healthcare workers have considered leaving their profession and over 60% say that the pressure from work has harmed their mental health.
Even before the pandemic, there was a shortage of doctors and nurses. Additional losses to the medical workforce could spell dire consequences for U.S. health care. The staff that remains is now left to care for even more patients in the midst of the heightened risk and chaos.
It is up to their team leaders and everyday citizens, myself included, to show them how much we appreciate their relentless work and daily sacrifices to keep our nation safe.
Here Are 5 Ways to Support Healthcare Workers As The Pandemic Continues
Express Sincere Appreciation
While healthcare workers received heightened recognition at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, the thanks have largely run dry as conversations about COVID-19 have waned, both due to “pandemic fatigue” and new feelings of security after the release of the vaccine. However, people continue to contract and suffer from COVID-19 and hospital staff push forward in this nearly two-year-long battle.
One of the easiest ways you can show your continued support for doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers is to verbally acknowledge their work and thank them for it. Let them know that you have not forgotten them by simply saying “thank you” and/or writing them thoughtful notes and cards.
Display Emotional Intelligence
As mentioned above, many healthcare workers have admitted that the stress from their jobs has affected their mental health. Common signs that someone’s job is harming their mental health include disrupted sleep schedules, the inability to relax and unwind while at home, becoming reclusive from their loved ones, showing signs of situational depression, experiencing heightened anxiety throughout the day, displaying a negative attitude, and more.
It is imperative that we harness high levels of emotional intelligence when interacting with hospital staff members by displaying self awareness in how we talk to them and in the energy we give off, situational awareness by understanding that their attitudes and behaviors are likely due to the stress from their jobs and therefore should not be taken personally unless stated otherwise, and self-regulation to respond with grace and understanding.
Support Their Families
After a tiresome 12+ hour shift at the hospital, the last thing hospital workers want to do is tackle busy work at home. An easy way you can support them is by offering to babysit their kids so they can relax, provide dinner for their families so they don’t have to worry about cooking as soon as they get home, running their errands to give them time back in the day, and even offering to handle their household chores so they can come home to a clean and stress-free environment. These little things go a long way in showing your appreciation and giving them more time to take care of themselves.
In any situation where a person is stressed and overwhelmed, one of the best things you can do is simply listen when they want to talk about what they are experiencing and feeling. That being said, you must listen actively, displaying verbal and nonverbal cues that you are fully paying attention and that you care. Distracted listening, such as scrolling on your phone while the other person is talking or interrupting them, will subconsciously reinforce that you do not care, even if you heard every word they said.
Be A Source Of Light
Last but certainly not least, try your best to stay positive around healthcare workers at this time. Not only are hospitals extremely fast-paced, but in the midst of this pandemic, they are full of loss, anxiety, grief, and mourning. When healthcare workers leave their shifts, they will crave feelings of peace, security, happiness, and assurance from the people around them. Be kind and uplifting in the words you speak and the actions you take.
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About Dr. Wilkerson, PD, MBA, PCC.
Do you want to increase your impact? Do you want to increase profits under your leadership? Do you want to develop and use your abilities to the fullest to better connect with and lead others? Executive Leadership Coaching covers these bases. Dr. Jerrund Wilkerson, PD, MBA, PCC, has more than 30 years of successful executive leadership coaching in the United States and internationally.
As a licensed pharmacist, he is particularly passionate about helping develop effective leaders in the healthcare community. Dr. Wilkerson has coached and trained thousands of managers and leaders. He is a certified coach and member of the John Maxwell Leadership Team.
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