Avera Medical Minute: Caring for our caregivers

Published: Apr. 24, 2020 at 12:18 AM CDT
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Long hours. Little sleep. A high workload and little room for error.

These are just a few of the stressors for medical professionals on any given day.

Add now on top of that new concerns for their own health as well as that of their colleagues and patients in the midst of a deadly pandemic.

"The biggest stressor right now are the rapid changes happening with some of the CDC recommendations… a few weeks ago, changing daily so put stressors on nurses, housekeepers, doctors because we all want to do the right thing and care for our patients and we look to those experts and when they change like that we had to adapt very rapidly with that." said Avera nurse supervisor Jacob Lammers.

It's been tough and perhaps about to challenge them all on entirely new levels as diagnoses rise.

At Avera Health ..where the Light Program has existed for years.. resources to help staff with any mental health needs, especially burnout ..

The program is again growing and reaching out in new ways to remind everyone they are valued, their work is valued, and they're not alone in the stressors they're facing. Addressing burnout for the system is a priority.

"I don't think it's brand new or something that's just happened. I think it's probably getting more attention because now people are saying, I'm not willing to live this way, I want to do things differently. Things are getting worse, perhaps. So, now we need to make some changes." said Light Program director Dr. Clarissa Barnes.

In the meantime staff are doing what they can for each other and helping ease stress many through this time.

"We try to make light of the mood while taking it seriously .. PPE police badge.. the fairy gown mother, isolation gown, so this is held by observer, making sure they know .. i really appreciate, speaks volumes to resiliency our workers have, and fun into our work place .. the one thing I will say is to family and friends who want to help, will expect real hi-fives and hugs when this is over." said Lammers.