The COVID-19 pandemic hit the world hard and put a stop to economic activities. The sudden spread of coronavirus forced people to rethink their priorities and compelled governments to impose lockdowns. Industries were not ready for the change, and several companies struggled to survive. Many firms turned to digital tools to have some normalcy semblance and carry on with their routine activities. Shifting to work from home mode helped several business owners keep their companies afloat. But some companies could not withstand the change. The outbreak of COVID-19 changed the world’s course and transformed firms’ functioning. The rising number of cases challenged the healthcare system globally and strained numerous medical facilities’ functioning.
Medical professionals put in long hours and often had to do two shifts to cater to the community’s healthcare needs. The outbreak was sudden, and many healthcare professionals neither had the resources nor the preparation to deal with the sudden influx of patients. Moreover, the virus continues to bring forward several different discoveries, and they had to change their treatment procedures. The rising number of healthcare workers’ cases was another primary concern, which put an immense burden on medical organizations. Almost every industry experienced a difficult time during a pandemic, but the healthcare sector is the most affected. It faced many challenges utterly different from other sectors.
The following are some of the challenges frontline workers faced during the pandemic:
Unprepared Medical Workers
Medical issues were already rampant, and there was a constant increase in several healthcare problems. But the spread of COVID-19 put immense pressure on it. Many workers find sustaining the sudden pressure hard, as there was no preparation to deal with this new virus. An influx of patients of a new disease tested healthcare systems worldwide and forced them to reevaluate their medical practices. Healthcare workers realized their gray areas and tried to enhance their practices by enrolling in several online medical programs. Numerous prestigious universities changed their education scheme. Many are offering online medical courses that help healthcare workers earn the latest developments in the medical field. Registering for masters in health administration online helped healthcare workers learn determination and patience, which is essential in dealing with pandemic challenges.
The constant pressure of keeping oneself safe while exposing yourself to deadly viruses has resulted in several mental disorders in healthcare workers. The healthcare workforce has reported mild anxiety before coming to healthcare organizations as their functioning has wholly changed during a pandemic. Regular sanitation, washing hands, and wearing personal protective equipment is not an easy task for them. Several workers had to stay away from family members, becoming another cause of worry. Regular exposure of patients’ sufferings and deaths became the cause of depression, panic attacks, somatic symptoms, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety. Several healthcare workers kept on dealing with the rising number of COVID-19 cases while battling their psychological conditions.
Shortage of PPE
Healthcare workers are the ones who stay in the vicinity of patients for most of the day. The chance of them contracting the virus always lingers in the air, and wearing personal protective equipment is an essential requirement of their job. Many healthcare organizations could not provide ample PPE to medical professionals, and workers had to manage their limited resources. Treating patients without wearing PPE is like catering to their diseases without taking preventive measures.
Long Working Hours
An increasing number of cases put the healthcare system under load, forcing their workforce to work long hours. Putting in extended hours in healthcare organizations resulted in several physical and mental health issues among healthcare workers. Long working hours or doing double or triple shifts at a stretch has affected healthcare workers’ productivity. Many professionals lost a balance between personal and work life, which led to burnout and anxiety.
Healthcare organizations realized the need for an extra workforce and found themselves understaffed to deal with the rising cases. They tried their best to handle patients, but their staff had to put in long hours, risking their health with an inadequate workforce. Doctors and nurses are not the only two healthcare professions. During the pandemic, healthcare facility centers are in dire need of additional staff in all departments. Shortage of staff is a significant concern while tackling the virus because, in many cases, COVID-19 triggered several diseases. With fewer healthcare professionals, the medical system is facing a challenge battling spread of COVID-19.
Increased Risk of Infection
Many healthcare organizations reported an increasing number of frontline workers contracting viruses while treating COVID-19 patients. Healthcare workers occupied many hospitals and isolation centers and needed medical assistance. Medical staff continued to stretch thin, putting an extra burden on healthy medical professionals. Besides their colleagues, healthcare workers can further spread the disease to their family and friends, further spreading the virus. Healthcare workers getting infected is a significant blow for healthcare institutes as it depletes resources. Increased risk of infection has led many medical professionals to contemplate hard on their job. Many are thinking about switching careers.
Unavailability of Medical Supplies
Medical care facility centers are not only suffering from inadequate healthcare staff as an increased number of patients has also led to the shortage of medical supplies. Several doctors’ duties required them to wear PPE even in pre-COVID-19 times. Now, every healthcare worker needs to wear it to safeguard, which has resulted in a scarcity of medical supplies. Numerous patients’ conditions worsened after contracting COVID-19, and they became dependent on oxygen and other resources. Medical supplies’ unavailability makes it more challenging for healthcare workers to deal with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Medical workers are putting in their earnest efforts and striving hard to cope with the challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the discovery of the vaccine, the pandemic has been changing the healthcare industry’s functioning altogether. Healthcare workers treat COVID-19 patients and expose themselves to the virus day-in and day-out. They face many challenges while providing care to the patients. Many healthcare workers are battling depression and anxiety during a pandemic and need care for themselves as well.