The Covid-19 pandemic is something we have never experienced in our country and a historic event from which we have much to learn. From the personal anxiety and fear of contracting the virus to the uncertainty of our personal finances, the lack of visibility has made this crisis extremely difficult to manage and plan for going forward. The global economy coming to a virtual standstill proves how fragile we can be as a nation.
Over the past few weeks, this five-part series has asked the question: how do we manage our businesses and employees during this time of crisis? This series, written from the employer’s perspective, has covered what type of leadership is needed, the physical implications of the crisis, the emotional turmoil employees and owners feel and the financial implications of progressing forward during this period of time. This final installment to the series is a reflection of what I have observed and personally learned during the crisis:
Humans Take Care of Humanity
Our healthcare profession has truly stepped up during the most trying and scariest of times. Doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and all hospital staff have shown courage and strength to meet this crisis head-on. The elements involved in going to work each day changed. Job duties and tasks for each shift are different. The stress level of going to work is extremely high, but our healthcare providers have proven they are humans willing to take care of humanity, even if it means putting themselves at risk. Many CRNAs and anesthesiologists have offered to work at competitor hospitals to help the overwhelmed ICUs and ERs. I have read stories of providers contracting the virus, getting treated successfully and going back to work. The courage and fortitude displayed during these most trying times have been inspirational, to say the least.
Being Grateful is Important
The Covid-19 pandemic has proven how quickly our lives can change. This pandemic was not something we could control or prevent from occurring. As an employer, it is a helpless feeling to know the national economy has been shut down for nearly a month. This trying time will come to an end and our typical day-to-day lives will return. We will never again take for granted the ability to shake someones hand or give a good friend or family member a hug. Celebrating a holiday with family and friends will take on a new meaning this year, and for my family, we will be thankful when schools are back in session. We have so much to look forward to after the virus is under control.
Our Goals for 2020 are Still Achievable
The operating rooms our anesthesia group covers have been relatively shut down for the past four weeks. While this has been disheartening, I am certain the caseload will come back stronger than ever as soon as elective surgeries are deemed allowable by governments. As I have told my staff, I strongly believe we will still perform the originally projected total number of surgical cases for 2020. This will mean long days ahead for anesthesia providers and perhaps some elective surgery on weekends. While this may seem a bit unfair after all the stress anesthesia providers have endured during the crisis to come back to a roaring surgery schedule for the remainder of the year, I think most anesthesiologists and CRNAs will welcome the opportunity to perform anesthesia care again.
Personally and professionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has taught me many lessons and provided unique insight into the future as to what will be deemed our “new normal.” There are certainly measures our country, businesses and healthcare workers can take to slow the spread of future outbreaks. For anesthesia providers, it is time to return to the operating room to provide the care our patients need.