I was shocked to learn the CDC report on the suicide rate among nurses (0.11 deaths per 1000) as opposed to general public (0.07 per 1000). Nurses’ health has recently caught my attention. Their burn out, emotional distress, fatigue, physical- psychological- safety concerns related to shift work etc. For the past two years, I had been talking to groups of nurses about minimizing the effect of shift work. American Nurses Association and American Association of Critical care Nurses are working towards healthy nurses and healthy workplace.
Recently there have been discussions on resident’s distress and the need for caring for care provider. Suicide rate of med students also is alarming. There also, increasing demands at workplace, inability to come in terms with emotional challenges, lack of support and compassionate approach from the healthcare leadership make the individual either leave the profession or stretch oneself till it breaks!
As a health care worker, I also fail to see the required support sometimes. Sometimes I get the feel of being alone or left out. Left out from the rest of the professional community, as “nurses eat their young ones”; left out from similar professions as they compete to prove their superior ability of their profession in providing care; left out from social network due to inability to balance demands from personal life and professional needs.
When we strive for excellent patient care with whole person approach, if we are wounded or silently crying we cannot heal anyone. Our distress and emotional discomfort gets transferred to our patients, coworkers, our families and so on.
We cannot lose more healthcare professionals. We cannot wait to see many more lives being sacrificed. We should not wait for someone else to take a lead and make the change. We need to be the change we want to see.
So my fellow health care professionals, starting today, can you care for one co-worker: a med student / nursing student/ nurse/ provider/any other health care team member? Can you show them that you care about them? It could be a simple smile, a “good job”, ” you are fine, I would have done the same thing” ” how can we make it better” ” you are not alone” ” I hear you” “Did you have a break this shift?” or anything to make that person feel cared?
Let us save each other while saving patients!