The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of nurses in every country of the world. Indeed, due to the very nature of their work, nurses are usually among the first to witness the tragedies caused by this disease. Moreover, they also risk being exposed to infection whenever they treat a patient with the coronavirus.
In many cases, nurses lack the appropriate protective equipment, such as PPE equipment . No wonder many of them are experiencing anxiety and emotional distress. Although these feelings are completely natural, nurses need to find ways to keep their spirits up despite the dire situation.
Keeping in touch
The COVID-19 crisis, particularly in its initial stages, placed nurses under intense physical and emotional stress. In this type of scenario, discussing your feelings and emotions with people who will understand what you are going through can be a liberating experience. Often, nurses will confide in their colleagues. By sharing their feelings in this way, not only can they help each other survive the dark days but they can also be encouraged to thrive when they come out the other side. Remember, the emotional impact of a disease such as COVID-19 will not disappear overnight. People will need some time to heal.
Unfortunately, there have been instances when a patient’s family and friends, and perhaps the entire local community, have attached a stigma to the nursing profession because of COVID-19. As a result, these misinformed people may even avoid or be hostile towards nurses.
However, it is important that you don’t try and bottle up your emotions or deny their existence. Instead, you should maintain constant contact and communication with your loved ones and support network. In fact, even virtual human interactions would be helpful in keeping any feelings of isolation and depression at bay.
It is also likely that nurses will need help for post-traumatic stress disorder due to the epidemic. If you feel isolated, alone and have no one to talk to, consider approaching a support group for advice.
No need to feel guilty on your days off
Taking time off is essential as this will give you the opportunity to recharge your batteries and regain your mental composure. If you don’t take a break now and again, you will only end up feeling fatigued and exhausted. It is also vital that you only embrace positive vibes on your days off. For example, if you decide to check your social media feeds, try to avoid any negative posts. You can read some inspiring articles here. They contain lots of practical advice and helpful insights into how you can cope with the current crisis.
Remember, taking much-needed time off will also allow you to take good care of your patients.
Encourage support for nurses and other medical staff
It goes without saying that nurses dealing with COVID-19 patients face the risk of being exposed to infection on a daily basis. This is why they should take several precautions before they go home from work. However, even when all safeguards have been implemented, there have been cases of family members developing symptoms of the virus. This can give rise to some mixed emotions. You are obviously trying your best to deal with the disease but you may feel helpless once a family member is struck down by it.
Even if life eventually returns to normal, many people will still bear the scars of this dark period. In fact, these wounds may be emotional not physical and therefore they may take a long time to heal. Many of those who are caring for victims of the virus today will experience mental health problems and trauma in the weeks, months and years to come.
It is therefore essential that nurses and other medical staff support one another, especially in the immediate future.
Nurses are fighting an invisible enemy on two fronts. They risk being exposed to COVID-19 while treating patients and they have to deal with the emotional stress arising from the crisis. As nurses battle to save lives, they also have to battle exhaustion and loneliness. They will also be thinking about their loved ones and their risk of exposure to the virus. This is why it is important to remember that mutual support and taking a much-deserved rest can help rejuvenate both the mind and body. Nevertheless, it may still take several months or even years to overcome the mental impact. It is therefore crucial that authorities look after the well-being of their healthcare workers. They will need these people to be ready and able whenever the next medical crisis arises.
This is a guest post from Matt Farrah.
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