At the beginning of the Covid-19 epidemic, when many U.S. citizens shut down, health workers put their safety on the line and continued to work to care for patients. Although their villages used to beat pots, have fun on their porches, and put up thank-you signs, the pots have stopped crying. Words of appreciation have often been replaced by hatred, resentment, and even the death of medical personnel, as there are countless false reports about health, leading to loss of trust in scientists and health professionals. However doctors, nurses, paramedics, development workers, respirators, hospital administrators, and health workers and health organizations continue to struggle with the epidemic and its consequences – long covid, stress, increasing health inequality, and 2 years of suspended care for millions.
The health risks they face are serious. Hundreds of them died of Covid. More than half of health workers show signs of fatigue,1 and many suffer from insomnia, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other psychological problems.2 A paramedic in Miami told me, “There was a time when I could not put up with the grief of anyone who had died.” He stopped counting his 135th patient after he died of Covid in the first year of the epidemic. Caring for patients has always been difficult mentally and physically, but as one Missouri doctor told me, “We have so much to offer. We are also human beings. ”
Fatigue manifests itself in the individual, but it comes from the systems. And fatigue among health workers was a problem long before Covid-19. Causes include inadequate care, overcrowding and overcrowding, constant cuts in public health, and behavioral injuries due to inability to provide essential care to patients. Fatigue does not take long. It is about the critical interaction between health workers and the goal of supporting what motivates them.
This lack of organization has put millions of health workers at risk. About 52% of nurses (according to the American Nurses Foundation) and 20% of doctors (Mayo Clinic Proceedings) say they are planning to quit their medical practice. A shortage of more than 1 million nurses is expected by the end of the year (US Bureau of Labor Statistics); a gap of less than 3 million health workers is expected over the next three years (Mercer). And we are experiencing a significant decrease in the number of health workers at a time when we need to strengthen our defenses against future risks. Fatigue of health workers is a serious threat to national health and security.
The time for further change has passed. We need a bold, fundamental change that causes the problem. We need to take care of health workers and the growing generation of trained people.
On May 23, 2022, I presented the Operational Plan for Fatigue and Wellness to Health Professionals, declaring the problem a national concern and calling on the country to take action with guidelines on health, insurance, government, training institutions, and others. participants. . This advice is also encouraging to raise awareness about the risk of burnout by health workers posing a health risk for the country. Public knowledge and support are essential to ensure that action is taken.
Discussing the health of health workers requires appreciation of and protection of health workers. This means making sure they receive a living wage, access to health insurance, and adequate sick leave. It also means that health workers should no longer be without protective equipment (PPE) as they do during an epidemic. Biden’s recent efforts to improve PPE production and to conserve sufficient resources in the Strategic National Stockpile will be essential. In addition, we need strict labor standards to protect workers from violence: according to National Nurses United, 8 out of 10 health workers are said to have been abused or verbally abused during an epidemic.
Second, we need to reduce the administrative burden that stands between health care providers and patients and their communities. One study found that in addition to spending 1 to 2 hours each night performing surveillance, outpatients spend about 2 hours on medical records and desk work during the day for every 1 hour spent with patients – a very stressful situation. and doctors and patients alike.3 The target set by the 25 × 5 plan to reduce medical records by 75% by 2025 is a major goal.4 To achieve this goal, health insurers will reduce the need for pre-approval, streamline paperwork, and create simpler, simpler payment forms. Our computer-assisted computer systems require human-centered solutions that meet functionality, workflow, and communication across all machines. Healthcare organizations need to regularly review internal systems to reduce repetitive, inefficient activities. One such initiative, Hawaii Pacific Health’s “Eliminate Stupid Matters’ program, has saved 1700 hours a month in health care.5
Third, we must increase access to psychiatric treatment for health workers. Whether due to a lack of health insurance, insurers with very few medical providers, or inconsistencies in visitation, health workers are struggling to access health care. Promoting psychiatrists, strengthening the health-care laws provided to insurers, and utilizing professional services to bring health care to employees where they are and their policies are paramount.
Fourth, we can boost labor costs and public health. Increasing government spending to train more doctors and healthcare professionals is crucial. Increased funding for public health development – from the regular support of local health departments to a focus on health-related issues such as housing and food insecurity – to improve health and reduce health care needs. . A recent announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of $ 3 billion in public health, data, and staff support programs is the type of funding needed.
Fifth, we need to build a culture that contributes to a better quality of life. It’s time to dump her and move on. While our work is fun, it can also be isolated, especially when we feel we can’t let others know if we are not well – a feeling that millions of health workers, including me, have shared in our work. Cultural change must begin in our training institutions, where good seeds can be planted quickly. It also requires leadership and example in the health system and in the public health departments. Licensing agencies must have a system in place to deal with fatigue that does not punish health professionals for talking about mental health problems or seeking help and protection of their privacy. Finally, many health care workers still face discrimination and stigma because of their race, gender, or disability. Creating a culture of inclusion, fairness, and dignity is essential for good work.
Changing this will not be easy. But it is important and urgent. They need more stakeholders to move forward and do their part. The state can ensure that its continued monitoring and accountability by assisting the National Health Care Workforce Commission to oversee the management of the administration of health care management. of the administration of the administration of the administration of the administration of the administration of the administration of the administration of the administration of the administration of the administration of the administration of the administration of the administration of the administration of the administration of the administration of the public administration. The Joint Commission may add effective mechanisms to the institution’s standardized standards. And health leaders must make employee well-being a priority, and respond at the highest level of organization, and involve health workers in formulating and implementing a health plan.
Despite years of inactivity, there are indications that this time may be different. At the federal level, Drs. The Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act of 2022 and billions of dollars from the 2021 American Rescue Plan will provide new tools and resources to promote health care programs for health workers. These services support an increase in the number of health workers, an increase in the number of health workers, debt relief programs for health workers, increased public health infrastructure, and health education for health care workers. President Biden has called for billions of dollars to increase funding for the project.
Outside of government, the National Academy of Medicine Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience has encouraged the commitment of those affected by their commitment to the National Plan for Health Workforce Well-Being. Various health care providers are setting significant responsibilities with funding, funding, and governance to implement health care policies. Finally, a growing generation of health professionals are using their voices in the workplace and in educational institutions, professional organizations, and community forums to promote organizational change and policies that address fatigue. They understand that their well-being and the security of their communities are at stake, silence is not an option.
As a country, we will not allow health workers to fail and the communities they serve. We must move forward with this, boldly based on the interests of the established order, the stability of the state, and the state of affairs. Medical personnel across the country have told me that they are at an all-time high – that “something needs to change.” They are right. Our country must not forget our responsibility to care for the people who are most committed to caring for us.