The present day COVID pandemic, originating from China, has infected 98 lac people across the globe and killed nearly 5 lacs. At the forefront in this pandemic have been healthcare workers who not only face the challenging task of handling patients on a daily basis but also have to simultaneously deal with their own worries and emotional stresses.
It is true that some of the healthcare workers are getting exhausted and running out of patience. It is now more than 3 months that the virus hit our country. Initially, we thought we would tide over the crisis very soon. But, it appears that now that the pandemic is not ending very soon and signifies continuation of stress for the entire medical community and supporting specialities.
Varying levels of protective devices are advised for different classes of healthcare workers. These range from a simple N95 mask, going up the ladder with additional head cap, face shield, foot covers to full-fledged PPE.
Wearing these may sound simple in words but are practically challenging. Breathing, working and thinking inside the PPE for a prolonged time can induce physical and mental stress. Further, even wearing these protective devices is no guarantee for not contracting the virus.
As it is, present day medicine is a challenging field, with new development and updates happening every day. Dealing with cancer patients and their anxious relatives is never easy. The questions are many and anxiety levels are high.
All the queries have to be answered in the new environment , where both the doctor and the patient can’t see the doctors face. We, as oncologists have to keep the patients satisfied, do the best possible treatment and keep the patients and ourselves safe. Achieving these objectives is not easy.
The “human touch” of doctor has to be done in the most careful environment, with all the paraphernalia of precautions. This can surely leave some patients and their attendants a bit unsatisfied.
On a personal front, all healthcare professionals, including oncologists, can feel anxious about their own health as well as the health of their family members at home. It certainly sends a chill down the spine when you realize that “ the patient you were examining three days ago in the outpatient department has been detected to be having COVID infection”. The incidents of manhandling after an adverse outcome have added another fear factor in the minds of healthcare givers.
After a hard day at work, one generally goes home to unwind and destress. In the present times, however, a significant portion of “family time” is spent in taking extra precautions, bathing, separate laundry of the clothes of the healthcare worker family member. However, inspite of all this, doctors and other health care workers, need to continuously bring in positivity into their thoughts.
An early morning walk or a jog can have immense health benefits. Regular morning yoga can not only boost up immunity but can also be and physical and mental de stressor. Further this does not require going to any gym or purchasing any new equipment. One can practice the postures according to one’s ability and tolerance.
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Spending quality time with family is another time tested recipe to decrease stress. This can mean playing board games or watching a Netflix movie together. Helping someone else out in the present pandemic, while being a benevolent act in itself, can also create positive vibes in the mind of the healthcare worker.
Does the doctor have any expectations from the patients and society in the present times. Yes, it would be really helpful if the society understands the testing times the healthcare workers are facing.
Providing quality healthcare in the present times is very challenging. Please remember that the medical community is trying their best to treat patients in the best possible manner. All that the healthcare workers are asking from the patients and their attendants is understanding and patience.
This small bit shall go a long way in making the healthcare team free of anxiety, allowing them to focus wholeheartedly on patient care. And only then we can, as a society fight all evils, including COVID and Cancer, with renewed vigour and strength.