Burnout Warning from Frontline Healthcare Workers

Canadian doctors, nurses, and other hospital caregivers on the verge of second wave burnout 

According to Toronto CTV Media reporting, as coronavirus cases continue to rise dramatically across Canada during the second wave, physicians are sounding an alarm that emergency doctors and other frontline health-workers are starting to report feelings of burnout.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), burnout is considered to be a psychological issue, characterized by feelings of fatigue, loss of energy and over-whelming feelings of negativism.

Dr. Rodrick Lim, a pediatric emergency doctor in London, Ont. and chair of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians’ wellness committee, told CTVNews.ca that although medical staff are trying their best for patients, the recent rise in cases has made it “very difficult.” While Lim says the rallying for frontline health-care workers seen amid the first wave of infections helped doctors push through, that “sense of unity is gone.”

“When we see people who are protesting against wearing masks and not following social distancing rules and we know that the hospital is already at capacity, it definitely leads to disenfranchisement and worry, which can only make it more difficult for us not to be burnt out,” Lim explained.

 

Concerns about Adequate Personal Protective Equipment

“We knew that the second wave was coming, but now that it’s upon us and we know that the worst is in front of us, it’s hard to keep digging for resilience and that energy that’s going to be required for us over the next few weeks,” Lim stated. Furthermore, he explained how the steep rise in COVID cases increases hospital workers’ concerns about whether they and their facilities have the needed capacity for proper care—while some are still very concerned about being able to maintain adequate supplies of personal protective equipment.

 

Only Human After All

Furthermore, all hospital caregivers, above all else, are human. “We have the same pressures at home that everyone else has but on top of that, obviously, our day jobs are demanding and busy,” Lim said. “At the end of the day, we want to make it to the other end of this with as many people as possible not being hurt and not suffering terrible consequences.”

The CTV story continued with Lim saying that it will be hard moving forward, as Canadians seem to have grown complacent complying with public health measures and seem tired of living with the extra effort it takes to avoid infection. “The population had a huge capacity early on, really rallied around front-line workers in the spring and really showed their gratitude, and we all had a common purpose. But I think everyone is tired now,” Lim said. “I think they’re going through a lot of emotion too and it’s difficult for them to have that sense of unity and display what they probably felt during the first wave,” he added.