Reports indicate that British Columbians continue to experience increased levels of stress and anxiety, even with the lifting of some pandemic restrictions. Physicians are no different. An increased work load for many, a decrease for others, taking care of patients in an uncertain and more risky environment, and worry about family can all weigh heavily.
Working virtually or remotely from home has highlighted the challenges that we are all facing in this new era of delivering care. Physicians have adapted quickly to continue to provide care to our patients, however for many of us this has come at a cost to our own well-being. Our days are a lot different as we try to manage IT issues with virtual visit platforms, office restructuring, staff challenges of working remotely, and all of the extra work involved in adapting to the rapid changes of this pandemic. Even just keeping up with all the support that is offered can be exhausting.
One of the major challenges of our pandemic response has been the difficulty in maintaining connections—with staff, with colleagues, with patients, and even with our own friends and families. Many offices have created regular virtual staff huddles through online meeting platforms or social connection apps and some have linked together with nearby offices to share learnings and cross cover staff. Divisions of Family Practice and Medical Staff Associations continue to support working together across a community. Purposeful, scheduled staff and colleague check-ins to discuss and support each other as we adapt to our new workplace can be a great way to show that “we are all in this together.” This is especially true for staff suddenly taking on new roles and managing a new level of patient expectations.
As we have heard repeatedly, our pandemic response is a marathon not a sprint. We’re in this for the long term, so it is essential that as we expand in-person care, we remember to prioritize our own self-care and the health and well-being of our staff.