Happy National Doctor's Day 2020: Know What's Work-Life Balance For Doctors In COVID-19 Warzone
Happy National Doctor's Day: In the high-risk emergency situation, doctors bear a number of competing duties: a duty to patients, personal safety, fear of spreading the virus to family and friends, risk in case a colleague contracts infection and increased workload.
Happy Doctors Day 2020: Doctors are trying to maintain work-life balance in these testing times
- Doctors are battling the unprecedented crisis
- They are offering the best care possible to the vulnerable populations
- Work-life balance is probably impossible to achieve
National Doctor's Day 2020: A doctor's life was not as easy as it perhaps appeared during the pre-COVID times, especially with the disease burden that India has. High expectations, low resources, and quick turn-around time with accuracy for every case are daily challenges. Now in the COVID-19 era, it is like the army in war which has now continued for over four-five months. The war is on; the stakes are rising; the enemy is invisible and it is breaching every protective layer and preventive strategy that we humans have. And we doctors, whether in diagnostic labs behind the lens or in hospital catering to victims, are waging a war, staying vigilant at all times.
For those of us who work in the labs surrounded with infectious samples ensure that that the entire staff follows stringent protocols and take all the necessary precautions. The phlebotomists who are collecting samples, take all biosafety precautions, using personal protective equipment such as a hazmat suit, goggles, N-95 masks, gloves etc.
Established protocols for transporting samples are religiously followed, making sure that the samples are sent across in cold chain in the viral transport medium (VTM). Staff training and re-training exercises are being conducted to ensure all are updated as per the evolving safety precautions. Temperature screening of one and all has become a part of the daily routine. Even with all the precautions, the doctors, phlebotomists and other support staff are working at high risk of infection. Frequent check-ups for the staff have become mandatory, and in unfortunate cases, COVID-19 patients are asked to self-quarantine immediately.
In the high-risk emergency situation, doctors bear a number of competing duties: a duty to patients, personal safety, fear of spreading the virus to family and friends, risk in case a colleague contracts infection and increased workload. Including the healthcare workforce, our doctors, technicians, phlebotomists, riders and other medical staff, who support patient care, are battling the unprecedented crisis, offering the best care possible to the vulnerable populations.
With numerous lives at stake and hundreds of testing protocols and guidelines that need to be followed, it isn't a surprise that for a lab staff today work-life balance is impossible to achieve. And if the growing testing burden is accounted, it is evident that the laboratory doctor is bound to burnout. For the doctors, the situation gets even more taxing, with continuous late night working, responding to people and addressing numerous issues and concerns till late in the night, and controlling our own emotions amidst constant worry that oneself might be a carrier. Being in sight but ensuring that we are out of physical reach from our children and family is painful.
Still, at these moments, the leading doctors of every testing and healthcare team have to rise above all and lead by example. The junior doctors, colleagues, and staff look upto us with answers to challenges; it is imperative that we attend to them personally, encourage them and psychologically support them, guide them, and help them with answers and solutions whenever we can.
For we have to be upbeat and fighting for a long time; and we just cannot give up. The doctors at diagnostic space stand the ground at the frontlines. Till a treatment solution is found and beyond, nothing will cloud our sense of duty towards the society, and we will continue to work hand-in-hand, shoulder-to-shoulder with the government machinery across the country to fight this pandemic.
(Dr. Anurag Bansal, Technical Head for North and East India and Lab Operations Director for Gurgaon Clinical Reference Laboratory, SRL Ltd.)
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