5 Learnings That Can Help Us Prepare The Next Generation Of Caregivers

May 16, 2022, 21:51 IST


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The World Health Organization (WHO) classified the COVID-19 outbreak as an International Public Health Emergency on January 30, 2020, and a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Since then, more than 15 million people have died around the globe, and daily lives have been touched in innumerable ways, with enormous negative consequences. Although we are currently recovering from the effects of the virus, the medical community's bravery and dedication, especially toward COVID-19 victims, were admirable.

Despite this, the COVID-19 presented several difficulties and lessons that can assist the medical community to improve its infrastructure and functioning while preparing the future generation of caregivers, especially nurses, with greater knowledge and skill. Mohini Chandrashekhar, Chief Nursing Officer, Hiranandani Hospital Vashi-A Fortis Associate says the medical community must learn and be inspired by the following five lessons, especially while confronting a pandemic.

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Importance Of Mental Health Among Healthcare Professionals
Frontline healthcare workers, including nurses and doctors, were labelled heroes for their incredible efforts during the pandemic, but they too experienced a range of human emotions as, on the one hand, they had to treat critically ill patients with compassion and, on the other hand, they had to face a genuine fear of bringing the virus home to their families.
There was a genuine need for the support that the healthcare professionals needed at the time of the pandemic, leading to burnout and misplaced emotions. To tackle this, it is imperative that hospitals and nursing facilities must provide stress management and resilience training, recharge rooms, peer support champion (wellness) rounds, and easy-to-access psychological health resources to nurses and medical staff so that their mental well-being is always a top priority for everyone involved.

Decrease The Burden Of Unnecessary Documentation
The surge of patients who visited the hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic increased substantially, especially in the ICUs and critical care departments. Clinical documentation can take up to 25 % of a nurse's time in an acute care setting. This excludes the time spent by other clinicians and ancillary caregivers on documentation. In such a scenario, institutions and hospitals can effectively decrease the documentation time spent by the nurse by determining what information is crucial for patient care across all disciplines and then using a redesign process to mirror the same across all patients.

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Provide Focus On Government Policy And Individual Behaviour
When tackling an unknown virus and reducing fatal patient outcomes, the collaborative effort between governments and individuals plays a crucial role. This is evident in the fact that while lockdowns and mask mandates played a vital role in reducing the spread of the virus, these steps were successful only if the people obeyed and followed them strictly. Later after multiple manufacturers released the vaccine for COVID-19, many people hoped that herd immunity would be developed quickly. However, since many people refused to take the vaccine or delayed the process, it gave the virus enough time to mutate and infect vulnerable populations. In addition, many developing countries still do not have access to the vaccine, and it is essential to understand that until every person is vaccinated against COVID-19, the threat of the disease is very real.
All the above pointers point out that until the government and individuals work in collaboration to eradicate COVID-19, the disease will continue to be a genuine threat to everyone, including vaccinated individuals.

Digital Telemedicine Is The New Normal
Doctors and patients are now more open to using technology as it can help them schedule appointments and even conduct them online. That is why nurses, especially those in training, must be given access to digital tools so that they know how to use them to enhance their skills and knowledge effectively. And while there are still conditions where patients need to meet a doctor physically, telemedicine can play a critical role in the healthcare industry, and professionals within the sector, especially nurses, need to stay up to date with all the technology and skills for providing remote and online care.

Importance Of Reducing Risk And Transmission
Personal protective equipment plays a significant role in a pandemic as it can reduce the spread of the virus. PPE kits and masks were critical in preventing the spread of the virus, and the medical services must have access to protective equipment so that their health and safety are not compromised. There is a growing need to invest in resources that help the medical community to reuse their equipment and, at the same time give them access to enough defensive gear so that they can effectively meet the challenges of the pandemic.

These learnings can help to improve hospital care and health care delivery, whether it is for standard treatment of conditions or future emergencies. In addition, these learnings can also help the medical community treat their professionals with more understanding, care, and concern, which is indeed the need of the hour.

Also Read: International Nurses Day: Life Of A Nurse Amid COVID-19 Pandemic