Our need to bring our best selves to work has become more important in the face of this COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe.
Many intensive care clinicians are presently overwhelmed by escalating numbers of critically ill COVID-19 patients whilst many others are carefully preparing for seemingly inevitable local outbreaks.
There is an eerie feeling where I live and work in Melbourne especially with the online reports and accounts from our heroic colleagues in harder hit places like China, Italy and even parts of the USA.
My wife, Claire Davies, and I thought it would be useful to record a conversation about what’s going through our minds, right now in mid-March 2020, as public health officials and healthcare organisations around the world are either managing or preparing for the onslaught of individuals infected with the virus whilst also enacting public health measures such as social distancing and airline travel restrictions.
Claire, who was a previous interview guest on episode 29, spent almost 2 decades as an intensive care nurse before retraining in pastoral care and now works in that role at Epworth Hospital in Melbourne.
Claire and I fully recognise that colleagues in some parts of the world have significantly more experience with the novel Corona virus than we do but if, like us, you are thinking a lot about this pandemic and fearful of what is about to happen I hope you find some value in this conversation between Claire and I.
In this episode we discuss
- Our gratitude for those clinicians working in the overwhelmed areas
- Claire’s hope they know they are not alone
- Claire’s own current fears and how this has manifest
- Balancing the need to manage our fears whilst doing our crucial jobs
- Claire’s perspective on how we bring our whole selves to work
- The likely moral distress of making “war time-like” decisions about rationing ventilators
- The unknowns of providing pastoral/spiritual care in this situation
- Useful ways to help look after ourselves during the outbreak
- Recognising that if we don’t transform our personal trauma, we transfer it
- Trying to eat well, drink less alcohol, sleep well and to get in some exercise
- Trying to have deep compassion for people making the big decisions
- The opportunity this pandemic provides to bring us closer together as an intensive care community
- Being grateful and caring for each other in these times
People, organisations and resources mentioned in the episode:
- WHO situation reports on COVID-19
- Robcast Podcast episode “I am calling you to talk about the Coronavirus” (by Rob Bell)
- Book “The Body Keeps The Score” (by Bessel van der Kolk)
Further reading and listening
- Full podcast collection on LITFL and Libsyn
- The New Normal Project podcast
- More conversation on Twitter (@andrewdavies66) and Facebook
Mastering Intensive Care
with Andrew Davies