During this pandemic, hospitals and other healthcare facilities serve as battlegrounds for the huge fight against the invisible and formidable enemy, Covid-19.
In this rough period, a special group of people must risk being exposed to the virus so that the rest of us can stay safe at home, or be properly cared for in times of sickness. These healthcare workers are in a position that is closest to the clash with the enemy. Just like in a real battleground, these individuals who care for Covid-19 stricken patients are called frontliners.
Since day one of the disease spread, many people across the globe have hailed healthcare workers as heroes. This is because they brave out as frontlines to serve infected patients.
Such was what happened in May of this year, when a viral movement, known as #Solidarityat8 asked people to open their windows or go out of their balconies to clap and make noise as a way of honoring healthcare workers. In a YouTube video that captured the moment, one banner even said, "Not all heroes wear capes!"
Hospitalized patients who survived and 'graduated' from their care are the most appreciative. Patients depend on the frontliners' resilience or their amazing ability in dealing with everything that is thrown at them. There’s no doubt about it, the frontliners’ extraordinary dedication has humbled us all!
Yet behind every brave act from the frontlines is a healthcare worker's morale that is threatened by fear, frustration, and anger. With so much still unknown about Covid-19, and especially with the shortage of personal protective equipment, patient care becomes more challenging.
The mental and emotional anguish of dealing with an unusually large number of people who get sick or die is real. Seeing co-workers who succumb to the disease is truly disheartening.
As a nursing assistant working in the frontlines, how are you holding up?
If you are downright feeling the burden of this pandemic, you are not alone.
Here's what you can do to stay strong so that you can fight a good fight:
1. Check-in on each other.
Connect. Find strength in one other. The people who would best understand you are those who stand by you in the same field. Reach out to those who can inspire you to carry on. And in return, when you get back up, extend your support to those in need.
2. Have a positive mindset.
Putting negatives at the back of your mind is more like a must than a choice during this pandemic. A positive mindset can give you the focus that you need to be able to protect yourself properly and care for your patients safely.
Draw strength from the fact that a good number of patients with Covid-19 do recover. Every day is another day closer to the availability of a vaccine against the disease.
There is indeed a lot to look forward to. Take it one day at a time. Also, keep in mind that this, too, shall pass.
3. Participate in debriefing sessions.
Some institutions offer debriefing sessions where workers, especially frontliners, share information, try to make sense of a stressful event, and then help each other recover from distress. You may want to consider joining such guided support to help you cope.
4. Don’t forget self-care.
To stay strong physically, mentally, and emotionally, you have to take care of yourself, too. Follow a healthy diet, and get enough restful sleep. Protect yourself from being infected with Covid-19 by strictly following infection control protocols at work as well as in other places.
5. Turn to music.
It’s free, easy to do, and very effective. A study highlights the positive effects of music on people who experience severe stress. After work, play your favorite music and pump up the volume for that much-needed relaxation!
6. Remember your purpose and your oath.
When you started your work as a CNA, you must have had that kind of heart that vowed to take care of patients and to make a difference, no matter the circumstances.
The current pandemic will challenge your purpose, and it's up to your dedication to carry on even in these trying times. Knowing that a lot of people are relying on you will give you the strength to put on your scrubs every day and continue what you do best – caring for patients.
7. Define your moments.
If you feel that others don’t see your worth, make this time your defining moment. Challenge yourself and be proud of your everyday accomplishments. This is you helping win the war against Covid-19!
8. Control your emotions.
Mentally strong people know how to control their reactions to whatever is happening around them. They avoid being trapped in their own emotions, which oftentimes lead to self-destruction. To be mentally and emotionally tough, work on the things that you can, and accept those things which you cannot change.
CNAs who are working in the frontlines are not immune to the devastating psychological effects of Covid-19. If you feel down and are losing the motivation to go on, don't lose hope. There is a way out. Allow yourself some downtime but always aim to stand back up to fight another day. Eventually, you will win.
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