Our healthcare workers have been put through the wringer over the last few years. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, most people in the healthcare industry were touted as heroes. However, as the pandemic went on, the demands went up.
As a result, more workers have become burnt out. Healthcare professionals are working long shifts in dangerous settings, exposing themselves each day to potential infection. They’re also dealing with people from all walks of life, and many aren’t being treated with respect.
It’s no wonder so many professionals are leaving the industry.
The pandemic certainly isn’t over, but it seems like we’ve slipped as a society when it comes to giving our healthcare workers the care and attention they deserve. They’re still everyday heroes, and there are things we can (and should) be doing to give back.
So, what can you do, whether you know a healthcare worker personally, or you just want to do something kind to show your appreciation?
Encouraging Stress Management
According to research from the Mental Health Institute of America, 93% of healthcare workers have felt stressed throughout the pandemic. That same research found that 86% were struggling with anxiety.
So many healthcare workers – especially nurses – are under constant pressure, and working more hours than they should. If you know a healthcare worker and you can see that they’re struggling with burnout, consider offering some stress management techniques, including:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Taking breaks
- Prioritizing sleep
If you’re someone who works in the healthcare industry, understand that self-care isn’t selfish. Looking after your mental health will make you better at what you do. You’ll be able to prioritize patient care and continue to enjoy your job without feeling mentally and emotionally depleted. If you don’t work in the industry but know someone who does, encourage some of these stress-reduction techniques to help them manage their mental well-being.
Use Your Resources
No matter what you do for a living, chances are you can use your skills, networking abilities, or resources to help out healthcare workers in some way.
If you work in the tech field, for example, consider connecting with local practices and hospitals about updating their office technology. Things like simplifying payment options, better data storage, and smoother patient solutions will help create a less stressful work environment for everyone.
If you are fortunate enough to have disposable income, you can also use that resource to help your local healthcare workers in a variety of fun and meaningful ways. Some quick ideas that can make a world of difference to hospital staff members include:
- Paying for their parking
- Having a meal catered for them
- Donating needed supplies
- Making a donation to the hospital
You can also do some research to donate to specific causes. Maybe your local hospital has a GoFundMe page set up for COVID-19 support. Or, maybe you’ve noticed an area organization trying to support healthcare workers in your community. When you’re passionate about a specific cause, it’s worth it to dig deeper and decide where you want your money to go.
Even if you aren’t exceedingly wealthy, you can give your time and skills by volunteering. Consider assisting the Red Cross or donating blood. If you want to use your voice to make a difference, write to Congress. Tell the government to increase protective supplies for nurses and other healthcare professionals. Workers are more likely to feel valued and understood when they have federal support.
These might seem like small acts, but they can make a big impact on the healthcare system both nationally and locally. Don’t be afraid to get creative and use what you have to show your support.
Support Who You Know
Keeping our healthcare workers well starts by taking care of the industry workers in your own life. Maybe a friend or family member works as a nurse, doctor, or even administrator in the healthcare field. Even if they tell you what their everyday work life is like, you’ll never really know just how stressful it can be – especially during a pandemic.
So, do what you can to be supportive of the healthcare workers in your life. Something as simple as offering to watch their kids can make a huge difference in their stress levels. Other options include cooking them a meal, giving them a gift certificate to a spa, or doing some household chores for them.
A little bit of support can go a long way. While changes need to be made on a national level to encourage better care for our healthcare workers, it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything on a small scale. Keep these ideas in mind to help healthcare workers you know, and those who you’ll never meet but are doing their best to take care of everyone. When we keep treating these workers like the heroes they are, we won’t have to worry as much about staff shortages and burnt-out employees.