The average doctor, nurse, or other healthcare worker sees much in their career. From traumatic injuries in the Emergency Room to the life-threatening tumors in the oncology departure, they see suffering on a daily basis. Yet typically, healthcare providers face the expectation that they always unflinchingly perform their tasks.
And if they are ever tired on a shift, they get sharply scolded for not thinking about the greater good. As some nurses say, their field is one where other nurses “eat they’re young”. That refers to the way older, senior healthcare providers often overwork and abuse the newer ones.
If you feel surprised that the healthcare environment seems this toxic, we don’t blame you. Media portrayals of stoic doctors never failing to serve a patient and depictions of some sort of honor in overworking themselves only perpetuate the belief. In addition, even the concept of a doctor visiting a therapist or taking a vacation seems odd. After all, the relatively high salary and job security must already sweeten the deal, according to many. But take a look at the UK, and it is clear how naïve this impression is.
The second wave of COVID-19, now imminent, threatens to make healthcare workers collapse
The UK, a nation that offers affordable healthcare to all through its National Health Service (NHS), now comes in danger. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, that swiftly toppled economies and taken lives, is due for a comeback. The resurgence of cases indicates that herd immunity is not yet reached. Furthermore, the number of patients admitted versus patients discharged is no longer on the positive side.
The constant strain ever since the start of the pandemic, nearly 8 months ago, took its toll. Deemed ‘essential’ workers, these doctors, nurses, and paramedics never caught a break. They all face countless shifts, overtime, long hours, and sudden calls to work. This was due to the sudden influx of patients with coronavirus. With a finite number of healthcare providers, but many new cases, they grew overburdened.
New statistics taken indicate that these workers almost unequivocally bear overburdening
Due to a shift towards public concern for the utterly swamped healthcare workers, new polls took place to assess their feelings. A recent NHS survey showed that almost 99% of all individuals said that they had some degree of abnormal stress about work. Another paper showed that more than a third of hospital trust workers worried that they did not receive adequate funding. Hence, countless appeals and petitions arose to the British government to increase NHS funding and medical salary raises.
The same papers also showed clear cases of severe distress, anxiety, and fatigue across almost all participants. As many experts note, the extreme mental toll of this line of work is not insignificant. Watching and trying to prevent many deaths a day, tending to too many patients at once, and not receiving adequate rest all harm mental health. Aside from that, some doctors and nurses reported body aches, cramps, and fatigue from long, grueling hours.
A series of unfortunate factors may lead to this new wave of COVID-19 becoming a disaster
The lack of a vaccine means constant, potentially dangerous, exposure to the virus. Lack of finding means that resources, now scarce, may fail to provide adequate control of virus spreading. The scarcity of hospital beds, underpaid and exhausted healthcare providers, and the upcoming influenza pandemic may worsen things too.
Only time will tell what will happen. If the UK government wants to avoid what happened in America, it’s time to prioritize the people and workers. Stay tuned for the latest!