Healthcare Workers and Self-Care: If Not Now, When?
Updated: Feb 18, 2020
In March 2015, I became a Certified Holistic Life Coach. As a Coach and licensed speech-language pathologist, one area of focus has been helping healthcare practitioners find balance and utilize good self-care in their daily lives. That’s why I’m sharing this blog post, originally written for my HLC website, speakyourpeace.net. If you would like further information about coaching for healthcare practitioners, please contact me at email@example.com
I spent last Sunday night in the emergency room of a New York City Hospital. Not a well funded, elite hospital. A gritty, neighborhood-based trauma center. It wasn’t pretty.
My husband was injured in a fall, and that was where EMS took us. “It’s a very good trauma center”, the kind EMS workers assured us. At that point, all that mattered was getting help. Fast.
As we entered the over crowded emergency room, it looked like an army field hospital. Way too many stretchers in way too little space. People yelling incoherently. A kid with his hands cuffed behind his back watched over by a young and patient police officer. An older man with abrasions on his face known to be a “frequent flyer.” One EMT walked in after us and said, “What the hell is this, Saturday night?” And there wasn’t even a full moon.
Having worked in a hospital for many years as a speech pathologist, I thought I’d be prepared for the sights, sounds and smells. I wasn’t. This reminded me of films about NYC hospitals during the early seventies. Apparently, this was the place that time forgot.
As I stood guard over my husband, I carefully watched the staff –admitting agents, maintenance men, radiology technicians, nurses and doctors. Each person rushing, dealing with angry and sometimes demented patients, trying to get the job done as quickly as possible. Despite all the incredible stress of working in this very sick health care system, I saw compassion. I saw teamwork. I saw camraderie. I saw people being kind, even when it was obvious their patience was being stretched to the limits.
Then I wondered, WHO IS TAKING CARE OF THE HEALTHCARE WORKERS?
The answer: NOBODY.
Least of all, the healthcare workers themselves.
Healthcare workers are taught that self-sacrifice is part of the job. Self-care is often considered laughable, not just by their employers, but by the healthcare workers themselves.
My observations? Many healthcare workers experience incredible stress as a result of a high pressure environment and almost immeasurable demands.
The hoops they must jump get higher and higher from year to year, often resulting in
High blood pressure
Just to name a few.
They have forgotten what the airlines tell us: Put the oxygen mask on first BEFORE you help anyone else.
It seems so simple, yet old attitudes die hard. But die they must so that our healthcare providers can thrive.
As a holistic life coach AND healthcare practitioner, it is my mission to help these dedicated and talented people THRIVE.
Re-ignite your sense of purpose
Create a better life/work balance
Relieve stress and over work
Engage in interests outside of work that fill you with joy and energy
Create a self-care ritual that can be easily incorporated into a busy life
Treat yourself with the care and respect you deserve.
Because if not now, when?
Consider it my thanks for helping my husband and I on a very difficult Sunday night.
About Monica Lowy
Bodylink Speech Therapy is a private speech therapy practice founded by Monica Lowy, M.A., CCC-SLP, TSHH, APP. Ms. Lowy earned a master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology at New York University in 1996 and has been a New York State licensed clinician for 16 years.