A Healthcare Provider’s Guide to Staying Healthy Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

MedBridge has worked with Shelley Bhola RN-BC, BSN, MSN, PHN, Infection Prevention Specialist to put together resources for facilities and providers to use for education and preparation during the coronavirus outbreak:

  1. Community Preparedness Guidelines for COVID-19 – Article
  2. Checklist for Inpatient Communities During the COVID-19 Outbreak – Article & Downloadable Flyer
  3. COVID-19 Facility Policy – Downloadable Flyer
  4. A Healthcare Provider’s Guide to Staying Healthy Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic – Article [currently viewing]
  5. Free Patient Education Videos: How to Protect Yourself Against the Coronavirus, and 5 Handwashing Steps You Should Follow

Healthcare providers, whether they are nurses, doctors, or therapists, are notorious for providing quality care at the expense of their own health. During this time of uncertainty with COVID-19, we must work at keeping ourselves healthy in order to not only maintain our own health and wellbeing, but also to be able to provide high level of support to our patients and their loved ones.

Steps for Maintaining a Safe and Healthy Environment

In order to maintain a safe and healthy environment for everyone, there are some very simple strategies that will keep the work environment safe:

  • Stop handshaking—use other noncontact methods of greeting.
  • Clean your hands at the door and schedule regular hand washing reminders via text or email.
  • Create habits and reminders to avoid touching your face and cover any coughs and sneezes.
  • Disinfect surfaces like doorknobs, tables, desks, and handrails regularly. Routine cleaning solutions do work.
  • Increase ventilation by opening windows or adjusting the air conditioning.
  • Use videoconferencing for meetings when possible.
  • When not possible, hold meetings in open, well-ventilated spaces.
  • Consider adjusting or postponing large meetings or gatherings.

Steps for Managing Stress

A proactive stress management plan in the workplace focuses both on the environment and the individual. A clear organizational structure with defined roles and responsibilities for everyone during a time of crisis helps reduce employee.

To minimize stress in the workplace:

  • Set the tone by treating coworkers with respect and allowing time for them to express their feelings of uncertainty.
  • Hold regular staff meetings to plan, problem solve, educate, and calm fears.
  • Clearly communicate the rationale behind procedural or supervisory changes and performance expectations during the potential for outbreak.
  • Acknowledge that this is a stressful time and connect staff to professional help if necessary.
  • Promote an atmosphere where attention to one’s emotional state is acceptable and encouraged rather than stigmatized or disregarded.

There are many things we as individuals can do for self-care, such as:

  • Understand that it is normal to feel sad, stressed, or overwhelmed by the crisis.
  • Talk to people you trust or to a counselor if needed.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle, which includes proper diet, sleep, exercise, and social contacts with friends and family.
  • Avoid using alcohol or smoking to deal with your emotions.
  • If you have concerns, talk with your supervisor, and if you start feeling unwell, tell your doctor immediately.

COVID-19 Checklist

This is all new—the evolution of this virus on a daily basis can be frightening and overwhelming. Educating ourselves keeps us prepared for that evolution. Being prepared allows us to provide not only the care that is critical to our residents, but to ourselves as well.