A New Normal for Healthcare Workers After Covid-19

A New Normal for Healthcare Workers After Covid-19 was originally published on Hospital Recruiting.

A healthcare worker steps outside and removes her surgical mask.
Estanis Bauelos/123RF.com

After days, weeks, and even months of living in a Coronavirus dominated world, we are finally looking towards the end of this mess. It will still take time, but there is some light at the end of the tunnel. The thought of returning to our regularly scheduled programming is wonderful, but those of us in healthcare know that regardless of our hopes, we aren’t going back to the way things used to be. Too much has happened. Too much is known. We can’t go back. All we can do now is move forward. But, how?

 

Covid-19 has affected every American in one way or another. Loved ones and patients were lost, financial security went out the window for many, supply shortages created panic, and confusing/conflicting reporting and recommendations caused rifts in relationships, both personal and professional. While there are countless stories of encouragement and comradery, they are but a façade for the pain and hurt that has occurred. Before we can really move on, we have to take time to deal with what we’ve been through. We must mourn the losses and pain, and if necessary, we need to get help to deal with anxieties, depression, and even disorders such as PTSD that may have resulted from this time. Healthcare workers, in particular, need to take some time to reflect upon what has happened. Talk with each other. Talk with family. Talk with a professional. Do what you need to do in order to “clear your cache.” 

 

While the financial security was nice, the quarantine was not a time of family togetherness and household projects for those in many healthcare fields. Instead, it meant increased hours and high stress environments. Now that we are closing in on the end, it’s time to plan a vacation. Whether your happy place is right at home for a week, or on a beach along the Pacific Coast, get to planning and make the request for your PDO/PTO. You worked for it and when this is over, it’s time to use it. Tip: Want to do your part to stimulate the US economy? Use that stimulus package for a stateside vacation! 

 

Prior to the pandemic, most healthcare workers were swimming along in a state of false security. We had stable jobs and trusted that our organizations were prepared for whatever healthcare disaster could be thrown at us. Now we know differently. We have seen the effects that pinpoint management of the bottom line has on our systems when the going gets tough. We have felt our worth and the weaknesses in our organizations. We’ve had a major reality check. How do we move on without feeling animosity and a severe lack of trust with our employer? INVOLVEMENT. The key to moving forward in a beneficial and positive manner is involvement. If you want to know that your organization is prepared, join a committee to ensure that it is. If one doesn’t exist, navigate the proper channels and organize one. While organizations will certainly have preparedness at the forefront of their minds in the months following this pandemic, there’s no reason why staff cannot make efforts to be involved in the process. Ask the tough questions. Make suggestions. Follow up. Change takes time, but with committed staff members at the forefront, it can happen. 

 

For some, the only thought on their mind is change. A new job. A new career. Something different. While this may be the route you take in pursuit of your own happiness, remember who you are and don’t let frustration or anger lead you. Make your decisions out of love. Choose your path because you love where you’re aimed and because it’s right for you. Don’t jump into something new just because it’s different. And when you are ready to make the change, be a solid person and give notice. This is not the time to “stick it to the man” by running out on your job. We all know that the only ones who suffer in that situation, are the staff you leave behind. 

 

While we scoff at our organization’s lack of preparedness, many have realized that we as individuals and families are also unprepared for such a setback. Now is the time to examine the difficulties we faced and how we could have better prepared for this situation. Whether it’s padding your savings account or planting a victory garden, spend some time doing something that prepares you and your family for the future. 

 

The Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc in our lives, and as we return to our new normal, we can quietly reflect on what has occurred and how we can deal with it going forward. Each of us has experienced this time differently. Each of us has been affected individually, and each of us needs to take time to plan for this transition as it relates to our own needs. Regardless of our path moving forward, we must be mindful of our choices and be diligent in preventing another debacle like Coronavirus, 2020.