Many people have seen their lives turned upside down by the Covid-19 pandemic. The possibility of getting infected, the restrictions, the uncertainty and the stress that came with all these sudden changes have had a strong impact on our lives. But there’s a certain category of people that experienced the pandemic on a whole different level than the rest. We’re obviously talking about healthcare workers.
For front line employees, the coronavirus outbreak translated into a series of challenges they’ve had to manage as the pandemic progressed. Recent studies show that workers in the medical field went through a lot of changes since it all started.
From burnout to guilt and lifestyle changes
Beside the fear of getting infected with Covid-19, a lot of health care professionals worried they would take the virus home to their families. Besides the growing number of patients they had to attend, a lot of doctors also had to care for their families – children who switched to remote learning or aging parents who needed extensive care.
The extra hours spent working at the hospital and the overnight shifts affected their sleep patterns significantly. A lot of workers accused acute sleep issues, especially in the first month since the outbreak began. As a result, their mood worsened and some reported feeling on the brink of burnout.
But it’s not just their sleep schedule and mood that were affected. There were other less visible changes that took their toll on the health and wellbeing of health care workers. A lot of them have struggled with the guilt for not being able to do more or for unknowingly infecting patients or family members. Their mental health has been seriously impacted as they had to work under constant pressure, dealing with intense fatigue and brain fog.
After more than a year since the beginning of the pandemic, with discussions revolving around vaccines, new Covid variants spreading from country to country and concerns about new waves of infections, front line workers are feeling exhausted and unheard.
This stresses the importance of offering support and assistance to healthcare workers everywhere. Creating special programs to ensure the mental and physical wellbeing of medical professionals should become a priority for authorities. Providing resources like medical audio transcription services and other similar tools can have a great positive impact and make life easier for all healthcare workers.
Unfortunately, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on health care professionals are not going to stop once the virus is eradicated. There are long-term consequences to take into consideration as well. At the moment, experts predict this will translate into an increase in early retirements of professionals in the medical field. This will probably lead to a shortage of qualified medical workers in the healthcare sectors which in turn will greatly affect hospitals that will struggle to keep their emergency rooms running.