June Sullivan, DMSc, PA-C
During a pandemic crisis, medical providers in the hospital setting face a myriad of personal, professional, and ethical challenges at great risk to themselves and their families. During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, providers faced burnout, supply and equipment shortages, competing family and professional obligations, politicization, misinformation, and increased violent behavior among patients. Despite these risks and challenges, providers and medical staff continued to show up every day to care for patients. Many healthcare workers died in the early days of COVID-19. Some committed suicide. Healthcare workers faced pushback and consequences from administrators and governments worldwide for speaking out about the conditions under which they worked. As a result, many left the healthcare field. A review of this topic will provide healthcare providers and staff with historical context, lessons learned, and recommendations to prepare for the next pandemic. This includes acknowledgment of the burden placed on healthcare workers, the need to support families, increased mental health resource availability, ensuring/confirming adequate equipment stockpiles, and enforcing a no-tolerance policy for violence against healthcare workers. The best way hospitals can prepare to face new and emerging pandemic threats is by supporting and equipping those risking their lives on the front lines.
Pascarella J. Supporting A Provider’s Duty to Treat During an Emergent Pandemic Crisis. Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science. 2023; 5(1).
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