This pandemic has us living in a dynamic and intense time, globally and in healthcare specifically. Our world is changing daily and frankly, it is quite overwhelming. The unsettling part is not knowing what will happen next or what problems tomorrow will bring. The extreme amount of unknowns is what leaves us all with stress and anxiety.
Life in the OR Has Changed
As a neurophysiologist during this time, the environment we work in is quite fluid. We are used to dealing with unknown circumstances and quick changes, but this is different. This virus adds another level of stress that has really placed fear in all of us. Co-workers are wearing an N-95 mask underneath their regular masks. They are fearful to speak to one another, be near one another, and anxiously purell their hands after touching anything, leaving our hands raw and splitting. Our environment is also very unique in the operating room as we do not have the option to abide by the social distancing rule. That extra level of concern on top of the other various concerns already present during surgery will send anyone into a tailspin in these trying times. What we need to remember is that it’s natural to experience some fear during times like these. The best way to channel that is through communication.
Communication is Critical
Constant communication and regular check-ins during a time of crisis are key. SpecialtyCare has really done an outstanding job of updating the entire company with pertinent information regarding the outbreak every few days. They understand how stressful this is for us operating on patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and how being in this anxious environment really impacts us on many levels. The FAQ’s the company has been releasing demonstrate the level of concern they have for each associate’s safety at work and welfare overall. SpecialtyCare has acknowledged the impact and difficulty this pandemic has had on many associates’ families and have responded by providing resources and COVID-19 specific benefits to help address some critical needs.
Our IONM management has been great with checking in on us to ensure we have the tools and resources needed to practice safely and alleviate stress/financial concerns whenever possible. We are grateful to have a team and company that is positive, transparent and working to get through this together. They know we all have accepted our positions for one purpose, and that is to provide quality care for our patients no matter what.
Each day in the operating room during these trying times has reinforced my passion and drive to provide quality care for our patients. I think each one of us now looks at one another as a hero for our actions and efforts during these times. I have been incredibly inspired by the way I’ve seen people come together, inside and outside of SpecialtyCare. This gives me tremendous hope that we will get through and come out stronger and more united than ever as a company.
About the Author
Shakira A. Tassone, B.S, CNIM, R.EEG T, CHCA, is a Surgical Neurophysiologist III working on our Northeast District- Lehigh Valley IONM Team. Shakira will be contributing a monthly blog, casting a spotlight on the role of a surgical neurophysiologist and how this service is making surgery safer.