The Road to Recovery
After a decline, COVID-19 caseloads are reaching new record levels in much of America and your frontline healthcare workers are heroically bearing the brunt once again. It’s time to look closely at the major ways the pandemic is affecting the mental and emotional health of clinicians and what you as an organizational leader can do to stave off and mitigate the effects—helping heal those on your staff who are suffering in mind and spirit.
In our article “Best Practices for the COVID-19 Recovery Process,” Susan Wilson, MD, CPC, a certified physician peer coach for VITAL WorkLife and retired Emergency Medicine physician, explains four conditions you need to look for: compassion fatigue, moral injury, Second Victim Syndrome (SVS) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
What Are the Key Issues and What Can Be Done?
Compassion fatigue is emotional exhaustion produced by overwhelming sensations—loss of the ability to connect empathetically with patients. Moral injury results when physicians are forced by external circumstances—like limited resources—to make decisions violating their sense of what’s moral. Second Victim Syndrome is the realization that clinicians also suffer when patients experience negative medical events, from unforeseen complications to sudden death. Finally, PTSD, the set of delayed reactions to life-threatening trauma often seen in military service members, can afflict healthcare workers under the “battlefield” conditions of COVID-19 care, where infection is a daily concern and death is a reoccurring event.
The article offers common-sense measures you can take to help your clinicians lessen stress and share their anxieties with others who understand—and come through the pandemic stronger, together.
Download our article, Best Practices for the COVID-19 Recovery Process, to learn more about the importance of caring for your clinicians' well being, knowledge on how to provide assistance in recovery and practical advice on how to navigate the complex needs of your organization throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.