Main Post Discussion
The national healthcare issue selected is the current global pandemic, Covid-19. Covid-19 is a viral disease that attacks the respiratory system. A virus that was thought to only affect the elderly, immune-compromised, and folks with multiple comorbidities population is now found to affect even the young and healthy no history of medical issues. This public health emergency is affecting everyone, especially in healthcare workers. The healthcare settings are faced with increased exposure, stress, patient load (Baker, Pekham, Seixas, 2020). Hospitals are overwhelmed with the increasing influx of patients.
I work in the Mother-Baby unit, a place where mothers and fathers, new or experienced, can recover and bond with their new bundle of joy and a time to celebrate life and happiness, instead, it became a place of stress, isolation, and worries. There are restrictions and guidelines for patients and families to follow. There can only be one partner in care allowed to stay with the patient during the duration of her care in the hospital. Families and friends are no longer allowed to visit our hospital. Partner in care is not allowed to leave the room for any reason unless it is to pick up any food ordered from outside establishments. Parents of NICU infants are to take turns in visiting the baby because they are no longer allowed to go together. If for any reason they leave, they are not allowed to return to the room. Both patients and partners in care are to have their masks on when any healthcare providers enter the room. Although the hospital tries its best to accommodate patients, the feeling of isolation, stress, and worries are inevitable. It can be stressful for parents who have other little children at home that are crying for them and the dad has to leave to tend to their crying children, leaving tired and overwhelmed mother to be by herself. As for the new parents who look to their parents before making important decisions such as to vaccinate their newborns or circumcise their baby boy, they will no longer have that opportunity. Other stresses include the fear of getting infected with COVID-19 while in the hospital, shortage of baby formula for those mothers who choose to formula feed only, and not getting enough support with their short stay at the hospital (PR Newswire, 2020). Typically our vaginal deliveries get discharged in two days and our cesarean-section moms go home in 4 days, but due to the pandemic, their recovery time is cut in half.
The COVID-19 outbreak not only is a public health concern for the general population, but it also causes increased psychological distress within the medical staff (Pothiawala, 2020). There are many seasoned nurses on our unit who fall in the elderly population or are immune-compromised. Some have family members at home that may fall into these categories. Nonetheless, they are terrified and overwhelmed with anxieties. The policies and guidelines for PPE constantly change while ruling out our PUIs (patients under investigation). There were so many uncertainties and questions about PPEs and the disease when the outbreak first started. When our census is low, management will float us to the COVID-19 floors. Mind you, our unit is a specialty and closed unit. Our staff do not float out of the unit nor do other nurses float to our floor. I personally like the challenge because of my 5 years of experience as oncology, gynecological-oncology, and inpatient-surgical nurse. However, for the seasoned nurses who have been only working in this unit for 30 or more years are not receptive to the idea. They are not use to working in a highly-stress environment like the ED or ICU. Research reported that the risk of psychological distress is increased by “dose” of stress (Pothiawala, 2020). This caused so much stress and anxiety to our staff that many went on stress leave.
Baker, M.G.,Pekham, T.K., & Seixas, N.S. (2020). Estimating the burden of United States workers exposed to infection or disease: A
key factor in containing risk of COVID-19 infection. Plos One, 1-8. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0232452
PR Newswire. (2020). Navigating Pregnancy and Postpartum in the COVID-19 Era. Regional Business News. Retrieved from:
Pothiawala, S. (2020). Psychological Impact of the COVID-19 on Health Care Workers in the Emergency Department. Advanced
Journal of Emergency Medicine, 4(2). DOI: 10.22114/ajem.v0i0.397
True to your statement, the COV:ID-19 pandemic is affecting everyone, especially the healthcare workers. The healthcare settings are faced with increased exposure, stress and patient load. In addition to their human toll, epidemics and pandemics can have enormous social and economic consequences in a closely interconnected and interdependent world.
Although pandemics occur infrequently, planning and preparing for a pandemic is important to ensure an effective response. Planning for and responding to a pandemic is complex and pandemics can affect everyone in a community.
Therefore, public health officials, health care professionals, researchers and scientists in the United States and across the world need to work together to plan and prepare for possible pandemics and must be able to develop pandemic preparedness plans and strengthen their capabilities to respond to different pandemic scenarios.
In a novel virus outbreak such as COVID-19, there is no existing antiviral drugs nor vaccine available. Police departments, local utility companies and mass transit authorities experience significant personnel shortages that result in severe disruption of routine services. Several major airports close because of high absenteeism among air traffic controllers and risk of passengers contracting the disease. Health and other essential community services deteriorate further as the pandemic sweeps across the world.
As what you have stated, hospitals and outpatient clinics are critically short-staffed as doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers themselves become ill or are afraid to come to work. Intensive care units at local hospitals are overwhelmed, and soon there are insufficient ventilators for the treatment of viral complications such as pneumonia patients.
Fearing infection, elderly patients with chronic medical conditions do not dare to leave home. Parents are distraught when their healthy young adult sons and daughters die within days of first becoming ill.
Pandemics, whether mild, moderate or severe, affect a large proportion of the population and require a multisectoral response over several months or even years. For this reason, countries develop plans describing their strategies for responding to a pandemic supported by operational plans at national and subnational levels.
Preparing for a pandemic outbreak is a continuous process of planning, exercising, revising and translating into action the national and subnational pandemic preparedness and response plans. A pandemic plan is thus a living document which is reviewed at intervals and revised if there is a change in global guidance or evidence-base; lessons learned from a pandemic, an exercise, or other relevant outbreak; or changes to national or international legislation related to communicable disease prevention and control.
As to the nursing staff, to address highly-stressed environment, emphasis must be on personal stress management to address the issue. There are six goals the health care system should pursue: 1) create positive work environment, 2) address burnout in training and at the early career stage, 3) reduce tasks that do not improve patient care, 4) improve usability and relevance of health IT, 5) reduce stigma and improve burnout recovery services, 6) create a national research agenda on clinician well-being.
To keep the employees motivated, engaged, and valued, employers can leverage financial incentives, offering financial rewards, bonuses, profit sharing, and retirement benefits that show that an employee’s input to an organization is valued and appreciated. This loosens up the workplace atmosphere, motivating employees to put in their best in achieving the job goals and objectives. Great post!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. I remember giving birth and being hospitalized last year during this time; I can yet imagine the stress and worry this pandemic has caused new and experienced parents. There are so many thoughts, fear, and fear that come along with giving birth, such as praying for a healthy baby, becoming new parents, hoping everything goes smooth, and for some, not knowing what to expect. All of these emotions and feelings are common during normal times. However, with COVID -19, things have changed tremendously. Many pregnant women are having debates, worrying about how the disease could affect their babies, and wondering if maternity wards may experience a shortage of beds, staff, or supplies as the coronavirus spreads (NPR, 2020). Pregnant women are considered an “at-risk population for COVID-19” because they’re generally at risk from respiratory infections (NPR, 2020). All of these concerns place mothers at a higher risk for postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression is the No. 1 complication of childbirth, affecting 15 percent of new mothers, according to the American Psychological Association. Symptoms can include feelings of sadness and hopelessness, appetite and sleep changes, and, in rare instances, thoughts of self-harm. Researchers say it can be caused by plummeting postpartum hormones, sleep deprivation, and emotional stress (Fraga, 2020). Stressful life events, such as the COVID-19 crisis, can also make mothers more vulnerable. People are struggling with their mental health as we adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic. People who already have a history of mental illness could be triggered into anxiety and depressive states. According to Kingston (2020), the research found that women are more at risk of experiencing anxiety or depression during pregnancy than at any other time in their lives due to new challenges; we know that as many as one out of five women will experience a postpartum mood disorder and women who struggle with anxiety or depression may continue to experience symptoms throughout her life (para. 4). During this time, I would recommend tele-health therapy sessions to all mothers before discharge, if at all possible.
Heang, what are your thoughts about COVID-19 vaccinations for infants?
Fraga, J. (2020). The pandemic may be intensifying postpartum depression: But there are resources to
help. Retrieved from https://www.thelily.com/the-pandemic-may-be-intensifying-postpartum- depression-but-there-are-resources-to-help/
Kingston, D. (2020). How to combat postpartum depression and anxiety during COVID-19. Retrieved
NPR. (2020). Pregnant women worry about pandemics’ impact on labor, delivery, and babies. Retrieved. from https://www.npr.org/2020/03/30/823575358/pregnant-women-worry-about-pandemics-impact-on-labor-delivery-and-babies
If you were to ask 10 people what they believe to be the most significant issue facing healthcare today, you might get 10 different answers. Escalating costs? Regulation? Technology disruption?
These and many other topics are worthy of discussion. Not surprisingly, much has been said in the research, within the profession, and in the news about these topics. Whether they are issues of finance, quality, workload, or outcomes, there is no shortage of changes to be addressed.
In this Discussion, you examine a national healthcare issue and consider how that issue may impact your work setting. You also analyze how your organization has responded to this issue.
Post a description of the national healthcare issue/stressor you selected for analysis, and explain how the healthcare issue/stressor may impact your work setting. Then, describe how your health system work setting has responded to the healthcare issue/stressor, including a description of what changes may have been implemented. Be specific and provide examples.
Respond to at least two of your colleagues on two different days who chose a different national healthcare issue/stressor than you selected. Explain how their chosen national healthcare issue/stressor may also impact your work setting and what (if anything) is being done to address the national healthcare issue/stressor.