Due to the current pandemic, our healthcare system and services went under huge pressure to provide the best possible relief to the population. The increased risk of contracting the virus and harsh working conditions left many healthcare professionals thinking, “can we do it?” or “should we keep doing it?” but we know the answers to these questions. Because of the heroic roles played by these healthcare professionals, the world was able to fight back. From doctors to nurses to medical officers, each healthcare professional performed their care and medical services with remarkable competencies. Among several duties and responsibilities of healthcare professionals during the pandemic, the following are a few roles that are particularly applause-worthy.
- Role Played By Nurses In Patient Care
Indeed, nurses are symbolically less celebrated than doctors, but their role is crucial to the functioning of the healthcare system. The role of registered nurses varies from looking after the patient’s physical wellness to catering to their emotional needs as well. During the pandemic, the nurse’s role has become increasingly critical and riskier. Along with performing their regular duties, they now have to play a part in the early diagnosis, screening, and monitoring of infected patients.
Because of high levels of public anxiety and unrest, registered nurses role has also expanded to doing crowd control and ensuring the accurate flow of information to the patients’ families. Nurses have also been extremely vigilant about the risk of spreading the virus due to intubation and nebulized medication and preventing the patients from developing wounds due to airborne infection. One of the most commendable roles nurses have played during the pandemic is spreading awareness regarding the disease and guiding the public about the necessary preventive measures.
2. Role Played By EMTs For Patient Assessment
Emergency medical technicians are healthcare professionals who act as medical first responders. They conduct noninvasive interventions and provide emergency medical services to save lives. During the pandemic, EMTs have played a great role in identifying and reporting early pandemic-related symptoms. Their life-saving patient assessment and recognizing early covid warning signs have enormously restricted the spread of the infectious disease. Unfortunately, EMTs in the current situation are not only performing their regular duties but are also pursuing just-in-time training and ongoing education about the treatment protocols related to Covid19.
EMTs have to be extremely sharp and vigilant during the pandemic, specially when it comes to transporting patients. They have to put up extra coordination efforts with local healthcare facilities due to a lack of supplies and space. They are now required to adapt to the latest protocols related to fatality management and pre-hospital treatment based on the latest information. EMTs play an extremely appreciable role in dealing with overcrowding, public hysteria, and coordination with authorities.
3. Role Played By Community Health Workers
Community health workers typically serve in a non-clinical capacity but are healthcare professionals who act as patient navigators or advocates. With our health disparities and institutional racism unapologetically exposed due to the pandemic, we needed healthcare providers who could influence society and impact social wellness. Fortunately, community health workers have been efficient in addressing the importance of patient-centered care. They are playing a significant role in addressing stigma and misinformation surrounding the virus.
They provide accurate information to the public, specially families of patients, about preventive measures, latest developments, and treatment options. One of the biggest letdowns highlighted by the recent pandemic was social isolation and health inequities. This is where community health workers reached out to socially isolated patients and helped them connect to the right support and resources. CHWs are also actively engaged in performing wellness checks, conducting remote health sessions, and increasing patients’ self-efficacy.
4. Role Played By Medical Assistants And Office Administrators:
More than often, we fail to acknowledge the efforts of medical personnel sitting behind the desks. Performing administrative and assistive roles are as effective and important as performing medical duties as doctors and nurses do. With the healthcare facilities overloaded because of the pandemic, medical assistants are playing a defining role in supporting doctors and nurses with their clinical responsibilities. The pandemic has expanded the role of every healthcare professional, which means that medical assistants are now required to perform more first-stage procedures. They are now doing procedures such as patient prep, patient education, triage, and other care services.
Along with medical assistants, medical office administrators are playing a valuable role in the pandemic as well. The entire hospital can fall into chaos without the communication and administrative skills of MOAs. Currently, hospitals are dependent on MOAs for communicating the test status of the patients and to which officials they have been referred. They are also responsible for scheduling, postponing, and canceling non-critical procedures along with securing PPEs supplies for healthcare professionals.
5. How Can Healthcare Professionals Protect Themselves During The Outbreak?
Healthcare professionals emerged as the true heroes of our society during the pandemic, and it only highlights how important it is to provide them with adequate safety. Following are a few ways medical professionals can protect themselves:
- Healthcare professionals should look out for psychological and mental well-being along with seeking professional help when needed.
- Use adequate and high-quality personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, eye protection, medication, sanitizers, etc. Also, you should avoid working in clinical settings that are hazardous and without proper protection.
- Promote zero violence culture against all healthcare professionals in both non-clinical and clinical settings. Protest against regulations and policies which do not implement laws related to protection for healthcare professionals.
- Avoid going down the road of burnout and pay special attention to your physical well-being. Eat healthy, exercise, and get enough sleep.
- Take all preventive measures along with promoting vaccination for all healthcare workers.
The Covid-19 pandemic has tested us in all fields and at all levels. The healthcare industry was the first to get hit by the pandemic, and the healthcare workers were impacted the most. Even with harsh workplace conditions, risk of contracting the disease, and long working hours, healthcare professionals have grown out of their typical roles and served the community wholeheartedly.