Provider Self-Care During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is creating an ever-changing landscape for healthcare providers and their day-to-day practices. There are financial uncertainties, longer hours, changing and adapting practice structures, and shortages of necessary equipment. This constant state of change and readiness can lead to significant psychological, emotional, and physical impacts on both nurses and physicians that provide patient/family care during and after COVID-19.

Some tips regarding self-care and ways to reduce secondary traumatic stress:

  • “Acknowledge that secondary traumatic stress can impact anyone helping families after a traumatic event.
  • Learn the symptoms, including physical (fatigue, illness) and mental (fear, withdrawal, guilt).
  • Allow time for you and your family to recover from responding to the pandemic.
  • Create a menu of personal self-care activities that you enjoy, such as spending time with friends and family, exercising, or reading a book.
  • Take a break from media coverage of COVID-19.
  • Ask for help if you feel overwhelmed or concerned that COVID-19 is affecting your ability to care for your family and patients as you did before the outbreak.” (Source-CDC)

The Mayo Clinic identifies some concerning signs to be watchful for that may interfere with an individual’s ability to perform activities of daily living. These troubling signs include the following:

  • Trouble focusing on daily activities
  • Anxiety that turns into feelings of being out of control
  • Strong feelings that interfere with daily activities
  • Having emotions that become difficult to manage
  • Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness

There are services available to help providers and responders prepare, respond, and recover from disasters such as: