Healthcare workers are known to be the frontliners in the fight against all kinds of sicknesses. They are praised for their unwavering dedication to saving lives and caring for their patients’ health. However, not much attention is given to the challenges they face in taking care of their own well-being.
Long hours, high stress levels, and the constant fear of contracting viruses, such as COVID, put their mental and physical health at risk. In this blog post, we will delve into the invisible battle of healthcare workers and the struggles they face in taking care of themselves.
The Burden of Responsibility
Healthcare workers carry a heavy burden of responsibility while at work. Not every patient has the ability to wait and it is the responsibility of healthcare providers to put the patient’s needs first. While this is worthy of high praise, it also means that workers can miss meals, sleep, and other basic necessities in exchange for patient care, especially when there is not enough staff to provide relief.
This burden extends beyond a responsibility for their patients’ health and into caring for their own families’ safety as well. They are exposed to high-risk environments, making it challenging to maintain a work-life balance. We saw this at its most recent height when healthcare workers were unable to be with their loved ones after working, leaving families separated for months at a time.
Mental and Emotional Exhaustion
The pandemic has taken a toll on healthcare workers’ mental and emotional health. The constant exposure to trauma and death, the anxiety of contracting the virus, and the stress of long work hours have led to high levels of burnout and exhaustion. Healthcare workers have been known to experience depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The stigma surrounding mental health in the medical community makes it challenging for healthcare workers to seek help.
The physical demands of healthcare work are immense. Long work hours, demanding patient care, and inadequate rest can lead to physical exhaustion. Healthcare workers are at a higher risk of musculoskeletal injuries, particularly back pain and arm strains. Personal protective equipment (PPE) can help, but it does not reduce all the risks healthcare workers face.
Lack of Support
Healthcare workers often feel that they lack support from their superiors and colleagues. The management’s focus on productivity and efficiency over staff safety and well-being can be disheartening. The long hours and shortage of staff create a sense of isolation, making it difficult for healthcare workers to communicate effectively with one another.
Challenging Work Environment
Working in a high-stress environment can make self-care difficult. Healthcare workers find it challenging to find the time, energy, and motivation to prioritize their physical and mental health. The lack of access to healthy food options, gyms, and time to exercise adds to the problem. The stigma around taking breaks can lead to further stress and burnout.
It’s crucial to prioritize healthcare workers’ mental and physical well-being, considering their significant impact on patients’ health. Recognizing the challenges healthcare workers face and providing them with adequate support and resources is essential. If you are looking for a workplace that provides you with this type of support and necessary balance, then check out our job boards here. If you are looking for something different than what you see, then send us an updated resume here and connect with a recruiter today!
If you are looking for ways to show your support for healthcare providers near you, then check out our gift guide here!