Kate Woodhead RGN DMS provides an insight into the resources available to help staff manage stress and support their mental health, during one of the most challenging periods in the history of the NHS.
The Courage of Compassion, reported on here,1,2 identified a level of disquiet, stress and unhappiness within the workforce in the NHS with data from before and during the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis. Due to the high level of nursing and midwifery and related vacancies even before COVID struck, there are examples of staff being ‘broken’ and ‘exhausted’. It is difficult to imagine how those staff are managing with the current caseload and with their own mental well being.
This article intends to look at the context of the present workload with COVID-19 rampaging through healthcare and at the mental resilience and well being of the staff supporting those patients. It will also highlight some of the options for staff to develop their self care and raise awareness of available resources, even if they do not feel they need them now. Healthcare staff for the most part, work in cultures where it does not ‘do’ to admit that we are not coping – so there is a great deal of hiding of the reality of mental disturbance and distress at work.
One element that exacerbates the reluctance to disclose feelings and stress, is the external view of healthcare staff being heroes. It is hard for a hero to show ‘weakness’ and they will continue to deny their symptoms and this may prevent them from seeking help. There is a high degree of reluctance to admit to the stress and it is frequently taken home. This stigma needs to be addressed by healthcare organisations, professional associations and individual team leaders and staff, enabling open disclosure and a forum where they may safely display their feelings and get some help.
Log in or register FREE to read the rest
This story is Premium Content and is only available to registered users. Please log in at the top of the page to view the full text.
If you don't already have an account, please register with us completely free of charge.