Looking Out for Each Other During a Pandemic

Premier Pulse     September 2020

1780674952By Roberto Colón, MD, associate chief medical officer, Miami Valley Hospital; system vice president of quality and safety, Premier Health

I realize by now, more than a few of us are suffering from COVID-19 fatigue. I am not referring to one of the symptoms associated with this virus, but rather, the desire to say “enough already” whenever anything COVID-related comes up. This has been a very trying year for everyone, not just health care providers. None of us has ever been through such a prolonged outbreak with this persistently elevated tempo of work. We all have had to make sacrifices; some seem relatively minor such as cancelling vacations or missing out on some sporting events. For many, it has meant working more; for others, it has meant not being able to work at all. These stressors are further compounded for many having to manage the pandemic’s impact on our homelife at the same time.

Particularly, in our line of work, we have been so focused on the disease that it has been easy to lose sight of the fact that we must also focus on ourselves. It is during these times that resilience becomes so important. Sustaining ourselves at times of such stress requires us to pay attention to our own well-being and find meaning, both at work and in our private lives. Realize this is not a one-size-fits-all model, as each of us has our own way of finding meaning and maintaining our sense of wellness. For many, faith and spirituality will help us get through. For others, family and friends are key, a challenge when we have felt so alienated for so many months. Often, time for physical activity or personal reflection are the answer. Whatever your source of inner strength has been, please make sure you take some time to reconnect and recharge.

I do have one ask - that we all take the time to watch out for one another. Burnout is sometimes more apparent to others than to ourselves. So, if you see someone struggling, please reach out. All of the CMOs are available to help, whether it’s to offer a sympathetic ear or to find helpful resources. Everyone is saddled with the prospect of trying to find normalcy in the era of COVID. Everything seems different, but we can overcome. We have to be willing to try, but realize, no one has to try alone. And please remember, be an advocate for each other!

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