Wellbeing for anaesthetists in the eye of the COVID-19 storm
As the first wave of COVID-19 patients leave intensive care, many of us will be feeling fatigued, anxious and possibly burnt out. Not only may this be a good time to reflect on what has gone well including good teamwork, developing systems at short notice and supporting each other, but also consider what we have learnt and lessons for the future. Perhaps this is an opportunity to stand down, pause and reflect?
In doing this our members might like to re-visit Vital Signs in Anaesthesia: A guide for anaesthetists seeking help and advice during the COVID crisis or more general wellbeing guidance that can be found on our website. The Association has also incorporated wellbeing themes throughout our successful series of freely accessible webinars. Upcoming webinars focussing on fatigue and other aspects of wellbeing will be publicised and booking will be accessible to all.
At this time of what feels like constant change, why not consider accessing an Association trained mentor? This might help you to find a way through the current challenges.
It may also be a useful time to consider levels of burnout in your department to help managers to consider how the return to elective working should be managed whilst keeping the workforce healthy. The BMA have an excellent burnout questionnaire on their website as well as good information on how this affects us.
Our trainees have faced a relentless and emotionally draining workload. Some have been rewarded with ST3 posts, but others, equally hard-working and talented, weren’t successful in what was a truncated and possibly less robust recruitment process. We want to offer particular support to these people, and mustn’t loose them from the specialty.
It has also been a challenging time for those who are shielding, those who have isolated from their families and loved ones in order to continue working. Everyone’s contribution has been appreciated.
We have been in awe and overwhelmed to hear of projects and work happening within departments and across the UK focussing on wellbeing. It is important we learn from each other and continue to find ways to support our workforce. Whatever your situation, the Association is proud of how anaesthetists across the UK and Ireland have stepped up at this difficult time. We would be delighted to hear about local wellbeing projects. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Tei Sheraton - Honorary Membership Secretary