May 26th, 2020

BE PATIENT AND BE KIND - IT'S OK TO NOT BE OK

Mo Bro Fraser Mancey on being a healthcare worker during COVID-19 and the importance of taking care of yourself and others.
Mental Health | Staying Connected
1 MIN READ
 

My name is Fraser and I’m a long time Mo Bro and Paediatric Registered Nurse.

The daily rhythm at the hospital has changed a great deal over the last few months; clinics are closed, elective surgeries are postponed, and only essential staff are coming in to work. As well as continuing our emergency and inpatient services, we’ve all been busy preparing to tackle COVID-19 as effectively as we can; everyone across our organization has been working incredibly hard toward this end. There’s definitely a strong feeling of cohesion and camaraderie around the hospital and everyone has really been looking out for each other. I'm incredibly lucky to work with such a dedicated and supportive group of people.

It’s been a tough couple of months. While we certainly haven’t seen the same case numbers as other countries and hospitals around the world, there is a certain amount of background stress and anxiety that has been there since this all started. It’s heartbreaking seeing the human toll that COVID is exerting around the globe, especially in some of the hardest hit areas like Italy and New York. I’ve found myself feeling guilty when I have a good day at work, knowing that elsewhere our fellow healthcare workers are struggling and dying in their fight against the virus. Things have gotten very dire in some places and I think we’ve all been holding our breath, wondering if we’ll be next.

It's also been really tough being separated from family and friends. I think a lot of us (myself included) took for granted simple things like being able to make a spontaneous trip to a friend’s place or getting together with family for dinner.

I’ve been doing my best to eat healthy, get enough sleep, and exercise when I can (which is easier said than done at times). I’ve found it’s really easily to lose track of days and time when the rhythm of daily life has changed so much. I’ve also been trying to make time to do stuff that makes me happy; I’ve been able to read a few books that hadn’t had time for, and have been doing my best to get some fresh air every day (even if that’s just sitting on our front step). I’m also lucky enough to have a wonderful fiancée, family, and group of friends who have been checking in on me lots, and even sending me a few surprise care packages!

 
“I’ve found myself feeling guilty when I have a good day at work, knowing that elsewhere our fellow healthcare workers are struggling and dying in their fight against the virus.”
 

Be patient and be kind. Check in with your loved ones. It’s easy to feel powerless during times like these, but our collective decisions and actions will have a huge effect on how this all plays out, and on when we can start getting back to "normal". It might be starting to sound cliche but practicing effective social distancing and proper hand hygiene can and will save lives.

I’ve been spending a lot of time on the phone and on FaceTime these last few weeks. It’s still not the same as seeing someone in person, but it’s been a big help in staying connected. I’ve also been trying to take this time to reconnect with friends and family who I haven’t seen for a while.

This is a very stressful and unusual time that we’re going through, but it’s something we’re going through collectively. I think it’s safe to say nearly everyone is going through a struggle of some sort at the moment, whether it be with mental health, financial strain, or trying to juggle caregiving with everything that’s going on. Whatever you might be going through, you’re not going through it alone. It’s ok not to be ok; if you need help, make sure to reach out to those around you, and if you need your healthcare providers, we’ll be here for you.

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