Even though Covid has subsided to a certain extent, its disrupting effects are just about coming to the fore. One of the most-affected communities is of health professionals. A recent survey conducted by researchers showed there has been an increase in emotional exhaustion - a way of measuring burnout and well-being - from 32% in 2019, before Covid hit,to 40% by January 2022. The findings have been published in the medical journal JAMA Network Open.
When The Free Press Journal spoke to healthcare workers, nurses and resident doctors, the responses showed that the working style has totally changed as compared to the pre-pandemic era. Resident doctors, who had first-hand experience in the pandemic, went through many things which increased their emotional exhaustion and problem grew even worse after two years of managing the crisis.
“It was our first year when the pandemic struck. I was a medical intern at the KEM Hospital when Covid broke. All orders of deploying doctors were given by higher authorities. As everything was new to me, I didn't know how to handle it. I was scared and not at all prepared mentally or physically to handle the crisis. I had never seen so many people dying despite us having all medical facilities. All these increased my emotional exhaustion due to which I had lost my focus on work,” said the KEM doctor who was posted atthe SevenHills Hospital in May when cases were at peak.
Similar was the case with KEM MARD President Dr Sachin Pattiwar who was baffled during the initial Covid days but has now managed to live with the new normal. “Things totally changed during the first and second waves. We knew what was going on and had to manage with it as there were a lot more things apart from the pandemic. We had to overcome all our hurdles and now things are as they used to be.”
However, nurses had the highest levels of emotional exhaustion. Initially during the pandemic, several 41% nurses reported emotional exhaustion, escalating to 46% in the first year and to 49% in the second year. This same pattern emerged for every other health care job role, albeit with lower starting rates