Embracing Change: The Aftermath of COVID-19 Recovery for Our Healthcare Workforce

COVID-19 has been one of the most significant challenges our nation has ever faced. As far as non-wartime threats go, COVID-19 has been the most serious. The World Health Organization declared it a “global health emergency.” During the pandemic, healthcare was in a state of chaos. Most people didn’t know what to do and were unsure about the impact of the virus on their health. Many deaths resulted from a lack of medical care, and the lack of resources was detrimental to many people.

According to the Institute for Public Policy Research, the UK’s leading progressive economic organization, the “first world war had ‘homes fit for heroes;’ the second world war was ‘from cradle to graves.'” But for the pandemic and the aftermath, we need “care fit for carers.” For the country’s vitality to be restored, and new normalcy in healthcare to be sustainable and relevant, we must embrace an awareness of this reality.

Two Years Filled with Learning Opportunities

Throughout the pandemic, innovation and contingency have been terms echoing throughout medical facilities and the health industry. Mobile health apps, for example, have enabled self-testing at home, which has enhanced disease management. Additionally, patients with chronic conditions or in remote areas can now get remote care, saving them thousands of dollars in travel costs. And new initiatives such as drive-thru, no-contact testing, and outpatient delivery of care, have also enabled healthcare organizations to scale up to meet the pandemic’s demand quickly.

The healthcare industry must continue innovating to remain relevant in a changing healthcare landscape. Since COVID-19, healthcare providers have taken advantage of inventive momentum and made some of the advancements permanent. However, we mustn’t lose sight of the mental health, physical wellbeing, and financial and career-based needs of healthcare workers. We must ensure their constant access to support. It’s vital that we not lose sight of the fact that they’ll always remain the backbone and crux of the entire provision of medical care circumspection.

Many health systems are still fighting for their existence as we begin transitioning out of the grips of a pandemic. As a result, many physicians, nurses, other medical practitioners, and engineers have quit. Many have also developed severe mental health and substance use disorders. Their malaise, often called burnout, is a state of excessive weariness that frequently affects many professions, including those in healthcare. Burnout therapies should strengthen the connections between people and their jobs. There are many mental health implications of a healthcare worker feeling disconnected from their profession and overworked.

For healthcare workers and executives, Healing Breaths provides strategies for re-energizing and reinvigorating themselves. Contact us today to speak to an expert and learn how these amazing techniques work.

Changes We’ve Made and Can Still Make

The future of healthcare may not have absolute certainty. Still, as the pandemic has shown us, the infrastructure that seemed impenetrable and solid can be shaken and brought to a halt abruptly. Despite this vulnerability, “our slow-to-adapt healthcare system can change quickly,” said experts from the Healthcare Financial Management Association.

Health organizations must precisely communicate what they’re doing and why. Re-engaging the healthcare workforce requires providing people with the knowledge and resources they need and meaningful employment. Purpose, potential, and perspective should be the cornerstones of a successful recovery. A workforce strategy must concentrate on short-term recovery priorities and a new normal for the future.

According to Deloitte’s post-COVID-19 workforce strategy perspectives, “the HR function will need to focus its expertise on critical compensation, performance management, and promotion realities specific to the recovery period.” Future HR voices must be strong and decisive when faced with ambiguity in the workplace.

Healthcare Professionals Might Not Be Ready for the Aftermath of the Pandemic

Hospitals and health systems have long struggled with the problem of staff burnout. When COVID-19 surfaced, the burden became much greater on healthcare personnel. According to healthcare executives, there’s an unprecedented exodus of medical professionals due to the pandemic. Leaders must provide their employees with the time and resources to process their personal and professional tragedies. According to the Advisory Board, if healthcare workers are left without “a sense of physical and emotional wellbeing, health care organizations should brace for continued turnover and a long-term burnout challenge.”

Large numbers of individuals are likely to suffer from psychological distress after a disaster. As a result of not addressing these concerns, more severe issues may develop, requiring specialized treatment and dramatically raising the demand for mental health services. Communities have a dilemma since they can’t accurately predict who will be impacted after a catastrophe. According to the King’s Fund, “the aftermath of any disaster involves living with greater risk and uncertainty” for most people.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted healthcare workers’ mental and physical health. Italy is a prime example, where one in every four doctors suffers from anxiety, and one and five battles with depression. Wizdom Powell, a psychoanalyst, believes we are witnessing a global mental health catastrophe among traumatized workers. This significant impact on medical workers’ psychological and physical health has been dubbed the “shadow pandemic.” The US spends between $125 billion and $190 billion on healthcare due to burnout every year. According to psychologist James Jackson, taking mental health days or skipping meetings can help employees recharge.

From STAT, Mary Meyer, MD, an emergency medicine specialist with the Permanente Medical Group, said that for healthcare workers to find the resilience to “lean in” again and heal, people must acknowledge their “inspiring work of health… throughout this transformative experience and the toll the pandemic has had on them.” She says healthcare workers must continue to spread such awareness by joining with their communities to have “open conversations about the effects of trauma after disaster deployment” and to create “safe spaces for clinicians to share, reflect, and process.”

Burnout has an impact on employee engagement, turnover, and product quality. Health systems must continually work on creating and offering a wide range of system- and individual-level support services to combat employee burnout. There must also be programs for critical incident debriefing, administrative load reduction, employee assistance, and care team redesign.

Recovery in the Future Means Changing Now

Healthcare professionals in the United States must rapidly address how to rejoin a new normal. As we embrace change, we believe that healthcare organizations can reduce the number of people who don’t get treatment by normalizing the need to seek help.

Everyone has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which introduced a new set of problems and adjustments. The virus outbreak thrust medical workers into a deployment that seemed ceaseless, with no apparent resolution. Negotiating short-term demands with long-term aims is part of recovery. This disaster’s substantial losses will become increasingly evident during the recovery phase.

The pandemic has taught us all important lessons about improving both the healthcare system and the lives of its workers. To truly embrace change means embracing the reality that things must continually change to be better.

Join Healing Breaths in our mission to help healthcare workers and leaders refresh, improve personal resilience, and rediscover the pleasure of medicine. Please speak with one of our experts to discuss our programs and workshops today.