Persevering Through A Pandemic – 5 – ‘Life’ Support for our People
Intensive Care clinicians are used to being busy. Critically ill patients constantly arrive in the ICU with no awareness of staff workload at that moment. So being busy has not been the major problem of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The difficult emotional responses to physical exhaustion, mental strain, heart-breaking human loss and the unpredictability of SARS-CoV-2 have been significant, and the commonly held attitude of “just power through” has not been sustainable. Instead, the most critical influence on the overall wellbeing of Intensive Care practitioners has been the degree to which they have felt supported socially.
Maintaining social support and cohesion is hard. Intensive Care professionals have often depended on social support through camaraderie and workplace culture yet have been crying out during this healthcare crisis to hospital administrators, often in vain, for direct and valuable supportive measures for staff wellbeing.
The pandemic has therefore required a more healing and individual-focused type of supportive strategy. Coming up with successful strategies is not easy and a specific strategy will not support all individuals in all contexts. So, ICU teams have had to try a mixture of strategies, philosophies, support groups, or simply caring attitudes to provide effective staff wellbeing support.
In this fifth episode of the “Persevering Through A Pandemic” series, you’ll hear some of the types of supportive actions that my guests in this series have witnessed in their ICUs and hospitals. My guests on the episode (in order of appearance) are Dr Hugh Montgomery, Dr Rana Awdish, CCRN Simone Hannah-Clark, Dr Hayley Gershengorn, Dr Laura Rock, Dr Matt Morgan, Dr Peter Brindley, Dr Wes Ely and Dr Georg Auzinger.
There is so much we can learn from the COVID-19 pandemic. My hope is this episode will help you as a listener to reflect on and to process your own pandemic experience whilst hearing lessons you might take away to your Intensive Care community.
Thank you for listening to these wise and thoughtful Intensive Care clinicians tell you how they’ve been “Persevering Through A Pandemic”.
Links to featured guests
- Georg Auzinger: King’s College Hospital
- Rana Awdish: on Twitter (@RanaAwdish)
- Peter Brindley: on Twitter (@docpgb)
- Wes Ely: on Twitter (@WesElyMD)
- Hayley Gershengorn: on Twitter (@HBGMD)
- Simone Hannah-Clark: on Twitter (@kiwi_yankee)
- Julie Highfield: on Twitter (@drjulie_h)
- Hugh Montgomery: on Twitter (@hugh_montgomery)
- Matt Morgan: on Twitter (@dr_mattmorgan)
- Laura Rock: on Twitter (@drlaurarock)
Persevering Through A Pandemic Series
Further reading and listening
- Full podcast collection on LITFL and Libsyn
- The New Normal Project podcast
- More conversation on Twitter (@andrewdavies66) and Facebook
- Audio Producer: Chris Burke of Burke Sound & Media
Mastering Intensive Care
with Andrew Davies