We Are in This Together: Maintaining Our Health Care Teams’ Wellness During Challenging Times

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Efforts to prevent or mitigate burnout in health care practice(s) are longstanding in both biomedical and mental health arenas-from early training in classrooms, internships, and residencies to postgraduate work in primary, secondary, tertiary, and other care contexts (Berg & Garrard, 1980; Chen et al., 2019; Prins et al., 2007). From generic advice about work/ life balance, sleep hygiene, physical activity, and healthy eating to specific interventions across individual and organizational levels designed to support trainees and providers who are personally decompensating and/or potentially putting their patients at risk, scientific and lay literature, resources, programming, and protocols are extant. Whether and how we-as individuals, care teams, and care systems-have advanced these efforts effectively are similarly diverse. COVID-19 changed this conversation-or at least the urgency of it. In some ways, this makes perfect sense in light of the increased hours that many of us suddenly found ourselves working (read: no more work/life balance). But there were a lot of other things-less expected things happened. In this issue, Cornelius et al.'s (2021) engagement with health care workers in New York City is illustrative. Unlike traversing something that is difficult but has a clear endpoint (like a 24-hr shift or a four-year residency), we do not know when this pandemic will be over. It feels like running a marathon with no mile markers or celebratory finish line. And unlike offering responsive care to a specific community in a defined geographic area (like one impacted by a terrorist attack or a hurricane), we do not know where this pandemic's virus is. Because we cannot actually see COVID-19, we worry more about catching it. If we catch it, we might bring it home. If we bring it home, we could kill our spouses. Or our children. Maybe our whole families. It is hard to do good work when we carry emotional burdens like that. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)541-543
Number of pages3
JournalFamilies, Systems and Health
Volume39
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Psychological Association

Keywords

  • burnout
  • compassion fatigue
  • prevention
  • resilience
  • self-care
  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Pandemics
  • Humans
  • Patient Care Team
  • Child
  • Communication

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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