There are still millions of Americans to be vaccinated, and with surges here and there around the country we’re not clear of the pandemic just yet. Even so, frontline and other healthcare workers are beginning to think about brighter days.
One thing is certain: their professional lives will never be the same. Many people trained to work in new positions within a hospital or care center, and may wish to continue in that new, or expanded, role. Others may want to step away from frontline care after more than a year of long, exhausting shifts. And still more may want to explore new avenues that have opened up, such as virtual care and telemedicine.
The next few months, even years, in healthcare will likely bring even more change. Nurses and other caregivers who were nearing retirement age may transition out of the workforce, for instance, which will worsen an already-critical nursing shortage. At the same time, providers who pressed the “pause” button on elective surgeries and other care will be ramping those back up, creating opportunity within those specialties.
Self-care is more vital now than ever.
Exciting, sure, but also stressful. And right now, stress is not something caregivers need more of! The running joke that caregivers make the worst patients has an element of truth to it — and nonstop caring for others in recent months may have left you feeling run down and ragged. That’s why it’s essential to recognize the signs of stress, fatigue and burnout. Here’s a good rundown from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
- Feeling irritation, anger, or denial
- Feeling uncertain, nervous, or anxious
- Feeling helpless or powerless
- Lacking motivation
- Feeling tired, overwhelmed, or burned out
- Feeling sad or depressed
- Having trouble sleeping
- Having trouble concentrating
If you are having any (or all) of these, please take a moment and create a plan to seek some help and get some relief. The CDC has lots of ways to cope here, as well as a list of numbers and contacts to help you, your coworkers, or your family and friends if they are having trouble coping, or are in crisis.
We have all relied on you to be pillars of strength, safety and support for a long time now. Please let us return the favor and get you the help you need as we all work toward life after the COVID-19 pandemic.