By Dr. Elaine Kindle
A young and highly skilled nurse recently was talking with me about her level of exhaustion and how she, herself, got Covid from her hospital workplace. I know her to be an extremely strong woman, highly motivated, fiercely committed to her profession. Yet, this strong, courageous woman, cried through most of her session.
With her permission, I am sharing some of what she said to encourage you, who likely are experiencing your own Covid burnout, to redouble your efforts.
And I listen to what she said and take it to heart myself:
“On New Year’s Eve I quarantined alone in my room. It was depressing: I heard all the fireworks and parties going on… People get tested a few days before and then go to a party. They think they are safe. They are not…. You could get it the next day; you could get it from workers swabbing you! …. You can get it from food workers who go to work with Covid and don’t tell their boss and then touch the food they serve you… I try to take care of myself. To keep safe. It makes me so mad working night and day, why should I care for someone who hasn’t cared for me? I do everything I can to prevent a code, [yet] I heard 3 codes in a 12- hour period. It’s getting worse and worse and will continue to get worse ….
The staff is exhausted; we are short staffed. I’m a tough nurse but I drive home from work crying because I’m so tired. Sometimes I park, sobbing. I pull myself together before I walk into the house. My mother asks how the day went and I say, ‘Fine.’”
This is the plight of our health care workers. It’s one thing to be careful and still get Covid, but another to go out into social gatherings, or to be careless:
I did not tell her than another of my client’s mothers had just died at that very hospital, nor that another client does not expect either of her parent’s to make it out of the hospital… nor of the single working mother who shared, “All of us got Covid, me and my five kids.”
Hearing her tears, her exhaustion, I asked her, “Do you need time off?” She paused and said, “No…my team needs me more.” She is indeed a strong, courageous, committed woman.
Covid is real, it does not discriminate, it does not care if you are drinking at a bar or praying at your Church. It is an “equal opportunity” killer.
As much as we would like to think, it’s not over, it’s not close to over.
Please everyone, look out for our nurses and our doctors; look out for one another. Let’s work together so we can beat Covid in 2021.
Dr. Elaine Kindle