COVID-19 presents new challenges for everyone. However, health care clinicians are facing unique personal and professional challenges within the context of a rapidly shifting landscape.
Such challenges may include:
- managing patient and personal health/safety risks for COVID-19 exposure
- adopting technology and shifting patient care to video visits
- managing physical distancing and de-contamination protocols for in-person clinic visits
- rapidly changing organizational protocols for patient care procedures
- diminished staff/colleague support due to quarantine and illness
- health/safety concern for one’s family
- balancing professional and personal needs with children at home
- lack of medical-grade personal protection equipment (PPE) for patient care
- being in a higher risk demographic due to age or health conditions, and/or having higher risks family members in the home
- reduction in income
- interfacing with colleagues and family members who are continually stressed
- disruption of daily routine
- disruption of normal social supports
Individuals may find themselves managing multiple new challenges at once. Some medical professions, such as anesthesiology, emergency medicine, or intensive care incur greater risks for contamination risks due to performing intubation procedures on hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Health care clinicians wearing full-body PPE in the hospital are faced with physical barriers to self-care during shifts: eating, drinking, and lavatory visits may be delayed or eliminated, leading to depletion in personal reserves.
In this MedPage Today article I outline 10 essential coping practices for healthcare clinicians in the time of COVID-19. While these practices are important for all us, healthcare clinician self-care is more important than ever to:
- buffer against new stressors
- boost immunity
- maintain mental and physical wellness
- ensure performance in a time of great need
The article includes free tools to support stress management and wellness. MedPage Today is also hosting a living compendium of COVID-19 information and personal coping resources that will be updated regularly.
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