How Healthcare Workers Can Take Care Of Themselves And Support Each Other
Nowadays, especially during the coronavirus crisis, it is crucial for healthcare professionals to give their emotional lives the necessary attention to maintain effectiveness in their field and healthy relationships with themselves. Because they work with so much emotional intelligence, various research suggests that several outcomes include less physician burnout, increased patient satisfaction, and inducing trust among patients.
Below discusses the three areas of emotional intelligence that healthcare workers will need to be familiar with to ensure success in their relationships with others and themselves.
Once you acknowledge your emotions and the way you express them, it provides you the necessary information for better response management. Often, this does not come naturally. When you find yourself getting triggered emotionally, it can lead to an “amygdala hijack” where your emotions take over.
You might lash out on someone unexpectedly or cry as a response to what seems like a minor event or begin yelling at your laptop for getting so frustrated with its speed—remembering the maxim that the power to make better choices may vary between our response and a stimulus. Being aware of the space in between is the first step to expanding the area and choosing the healthier option entirely.
If you notice yourself getting triggered, try to break and allow your nervous system and physiology to calm down and relax. Music, deep breathing, and movement help in shifting your emotional state to a more tranquil one. You can also ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I know how to navigate emotional triggers effectively?
- What is inside my control zone>
- Am I making the necessary time for exercise, nutrition, and sleep?
- Do I have enough support from the people I care about and do I allow myself to lean on them?
- What brings purpose and meaning to my life?
Taking care of yourself first allows you to know how to take quality care of others. Having empathy for your colleagues, family, friends, and patients you work with every day during dire times like this will offer you the necessary bond for other relationships.
The most rudimentary way you can do this is by listening to others, which is more than only hearing their words, but providing them the necessary “caring presence.” You will need to give them your full attention and understanding as they share their experiences.
The presence of a heartwarming gift, such as your empathy, strengthens the bond between you and your patient. It also applies to leaders or managers that communicate virtually with colleagues working from home.
Other awareness types also include recognizing everyone working as front liners – the therapists, cleaning staff, nurses, technologists, and everyone in the hospital. Some of them have been working in their field and area of expertise for years, and it’s essential to offer them a bit of celebration for their dedication, poise, and courage. You can also ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I actively listen to other people first to understand them better instead of only rushing for a response?
- Is it easy for me to identify their emotions accurately?
- Have I belittled another person’s job or not recognize their work?
If social awareness offers your full attention to others, managing relationships is using the said awareness for positive interactions with people. Given the added grief, anxiety, and workload because of the pandemic, relationship management can become challenging for healthcare settings.
You might also have to work with colleagues you barely know — individuals rotated to offer relief, or assigned to new duties — and you will have to create a bond with new relationships fast to ensure the best performance. Meanwhile, having good patient relationships will also increase the possibility of them complying with medical directives, which is crucial at these trying times due to the numerous patients caring for themselves in their homes.
Try to ask yourself these questions:
- Do I bring extra patience and assume the best about other people?
- Being a leader, am I honest in my relationships with others, including my patients?
- Am I taking the time for critical moments, especially moments of thanks?
- Do I have clear and frequent communications? Are they open to feedback?
Taking the time to reflect on your emotional decisions will give you a peaceful mind in handling stressful situations.
Fessel, David. (2020, May 20). How Healthcare Workers Can Take Care of Themselves. Retrieved from