What about the health care professionals?Carlin Callaway, DNP Dec 14, 2021
Their feet are tired; their hands are dry and cracked; their hearts are strained; their minds are processing. They come to work in darkness and leave work in darkness. They covet personal protective equipment. They often don’t drink enough water during their shifts. They eat meals in front of computers. They wonder about the safety of their families.
They are the health care professionals who have worked, are currently working, and intend to work. They are juggling their home responsibilities and their increased patient care loads. They are encountering people who delayed important cancer screenings and people with strong views about COVID vaccines.
They are the administrative support teams, advanced practice providers, housekeepers, medical assistants, nurses, parking attendants, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, physicians, radiology technicians, respiratory therapists, and security guards.
Almost two years into this pandemic, one must wonder about the future of health care professionals. Who wants to remain in their chosen fields? Who wants to enter the health care profession? What may people do to inspire the next generation so that professionals are available to care for those who have cared for others?
Do professionals take time to “recharge their batteries?” Are they eating healthy foods, drinking water, and drinking alcohol in limited quantities or in moderation? How are they sleeping? How much physical activity are professionals doing every week? Have professionals adjusted their priorities to reflect their personal capabilities and needs? Do professionals have the resources that they need?
How do professionals encourage and support their colleagues who are struggling? How do professionals show compassion and caring to each other? How do professionals strive to retain their own colleagues?
What is the total cost of this pandemic? What are the true needs of those who have cared for others? What are the answers and solutions going forward? What are the silver linings from this unique time?
How do we go forward as people with tired feet, dry hands, strained hearts, and processing minds?
Fry-Bowers, E. & Rushton, C. (2021). Who Will Be There to Care if There are No More Nurses? The Hastings Center. September 23, 21
Yong, Ed (2021). WHY HEALTH-CARE WORKERS ARE QUITTING IN DROVES. The Atlantic. November 16, 2021
Carlin Callaway, a Denver native, has worked in oncology for almost 25 years. Prior to joining the University of Colorado Cancer Center, she served as a Navy nurse for 20 years. She is currently the Lead Advanced Practice Provider for Medical Oncology. Her clinical interests include survivorship and promoting palliative care to those throughout the oncology continuum.