(WSYR) — They’ve been called our heroes, but now, more than a year into the pandemic, we are learning just how human healthcare workers are. Burnout and trauma are leading them to the door.
In a new poll from the Washington Post, the Kaiser Family Foundation finds roughly 3 in 10 healthcare workers have considered leaving their profession. About 6 in 10 say stress from the pandemic has harmed their mental health.
Those newest to their jobs are having the hardest time. Overall, 55% of those in healthcare say they’re burned out. For 20-somethings, it’s 69%.
Interviews with nurses, doctors, technicians, and even administrative staff say it’s more than the danger they’ve faced; it’s the betrayal from the public. This is shown when the public can be seen clapping for them one day and refusing to wear masks the next.
Many are bitter that they were sent to the front lines of COVID care without the right protective equipment.
One night shift nurse summed it up this way: “Most of us got into this to save lives. But when death is blowing around you like a tornado and you can’t make a dent in any of it, it makes you question whether you’re making any difference,” said Megan Brunson, an R.N. in Dallas, Texas.
For the healthcare workers, if left untreated, their trauma could lead to anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and suicide.
If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255. For doctors struggling with burnout and mental health, volunteer psychiatrists are offering free peer support at the Physician Support Line at (888) 409-0141.
This could turn into a crisis for the country. Even before the pandemic, we were facing a shortage of doctors and nurses.