Covid-19: Trust leaders express concern over levels of fatigue and anxiety among staffBMJ 2020; 370 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m3004 (Published 29 July 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;370:m3004
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I am in agreement with the author that the doctors are highly stressed as a result of the pandemic and the newness of the disease and how to treat in order to prevent any further escalation. However, there is an omission of the other members of the health care team the nurses, who also work collaboratively and independently to deliver care to the individuals who seek medical attention because of COVID 19 or other illness. Nurses have continuously played a significant role in infection prevention and control, isolation, containment and public health measures. When nurses are exposed to working environments with high job demands and low resources, higher job stress and greater physical and psychological stress symptoms may adversely affect their health and well‐being (Mo et al., 2020). As nurses are always in close contact with the patients as this is the nature of their scope and function when delivering care when compared to the doctors.
Maintaining the mental health of the health care team is essential in controlling infectious diseases. Medical staffs are the pillar of the fight in the first line of pandemic as it relates to prevention and control, withstanding heavy work tasks, high risk of infection, and work pressure. Especially, the medical staffs in hospitals caring for confirmed or suspected patients are more likely to be exposed to high risk of infection and undesirable psychological tension than the general populace. Furthermore, they are also apprehensive about being infected and spreading the virus to their families, friends, or colleagues (Wu et al., 2020).
I believe the medical team are working collaboratively with limited resources to deliver the best possible care they can in light of the current situation facing the world. They would have been educated on infection control principles; however, the true test of their knowledge would be in the current pandemic in which they have to execute their various roles.
Non communicable diseases have been on the forefront of practice as data from the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that the leading cause of death in the world was non communicable diseases, this represents 63% of all yearly deaths. Non communicable diseases (NCDs) kill more than 36 million individuals annually (WHO, 2020). And as such the medical team would have to be working collaboratively and independently on strategies and treatment plans to lessen the effect of NCDs.
The pandemic has impacted all sectors worldwide including the health care facilities as the scarcity of resources, and the increased demand for amenities are endangering the typical high standards of elective care to patients. The populace on a hold has also been impacted by the pandemic, for us to be victorious in the midst of it; we have to continue to work together as team and be our brother’s keeper.
Mo, Y., Deng, L., Zhang, L., Lang, Q., Liao, C., Wang, N., ... & Huang, H. (2020). Work stress among Chinese nurses to support Wuhan in fighting against COVID‐19 epidemic. Journal of nursing management.
World Health Organization.(2020). 10 facts on noncommunicable diseases. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/features/factfiles/noncommunicable_diseases/en/
Wu, W., Zhang, Y., Wang, P., Zhang, L., Wang, G., Lei, G., ... & Huang, F. (2020). Psychological stress of medical staffs during outbreak of COVID‐19 and adjustment strategy. Journal of Medical Virology.
Competing interests: No competing interests
The article has touched very important aspect of the lives of those who care for the lives of others.
Everybody expects Doctors to work tirelessly not pausing to think of themselves and their dear ones.
Already Physician Burnout has reached an alarming situation. The stress and strain of the CoVID-19 has brought the situation to a breakdown point.
For many years now, Medical profession had concentrated on increasing lifespan by beating age related problems. The Doctors were ill-prepared to take on the Pandemic. I have noted Doctors lamenting that this is a war, and they had not entered the profession to face a war (where their own lives are at stake).
Situation is further aggravated by lack of sufficient supply of protectivee equipment, insufficient rest hours, often having to remain cut off from family and friends for a protracted period. There are instances where Doctors were ostracized or even attacked by people.
The Healthcare machine will have to change the gears as well as the direction.
We had become obsessed with Non-communicable diseases. Now we are pushed back by a century, when humankind faced the previous pandemic.
We will have to integrate present Medical Students and and the Interns in the Pandemic control program, thoroughly preparing them for the physical and mental agony of the times.
We need to attune people to new ways of life dictated by the Pandemic.
Efforts will have to come from governments all over the world to facilitate these changes.
For the present Doctors may need psychologists to help them tide over the crisis.
I hope for the time when Doctors will win the war with their own fortitude!
-Arvind Joshi; MBBS, MD, FCGP, FAMS, FICP.
Competing interests: No competing interests