By: Jerry Green
The COVID-19 global pandemic has taken its toll on health care workers and facilities across the world. If you happen to work in the industry, you know the struggle first-hand.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that physicians, nurses and other essential medical personnel follow a routine that keeps them both educated on the virus and protected from its harmful effects.
Read on for some tips to make sure your medical staff and facility remain as efficient and safe as possible.
Preparation is Key
Staying informed about the local COVID-19 situation is one of the best things you can do to remain safe and prepared. Know where to turn for reliable, up-to-date information in your local community.
Here are some tips from the CDC to make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep yourself, your team and your patients safe.
- Monitor the CDC COVID-19 website and your state and local health department websites for the latest information.
- Review your facility’s emergency plan.
- Establish relationships with key health care and public health partners in your community.
- Review any memoranda of understanding with affiliates, your health care coalition, and other partners to provide support or assistance during emergencies.
- Create an emergency contact list and be sure to continuously update the contact lists for key partners and ensure the lists are accessible in key locations throughout your facility.
Communication is Critical
Communicate about COVID-19 with your staff and everyone you are in contact with. Share information about what is currently known about COVID-19, the potential for surge and your facility’s preparedness plans. This information will go a long way toward strengthening confidence in your team and facility.
Make sure to provide updates about changes to your policies regarding appointments, providing non-urgent patient care by telephone, and visitors. Consider using your facility’s website or social media pages to share updates.
Protect Your Workers
If you are in a position of leadership, there are certain CDC guidelines to follow. They include:
- Screen patients and visitors for symptoms of acute respiratory illness (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) before entering your health care facility.
- Ensure proper use of personal protection equipment.
- Encourage sick employees to stay home. Personnel who develop respiratory symptoms should be instructed not to report to work.
Staying Healthy at Work
You can’t be effective at work without your health. Maintaining your overall wellness ?is critical in enabling you to care for your patients and collaborate with your team.
With long, demanding hours, it may seem difficult to carve out enough time for your mental and physical well-being. The key is starting a routine you can actually manage versus one that will stress you out in an attempt to execute.
Follow the steps below to make sure you remain your healthiest — both in and away from the office.
Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking plenty of water is key when working in the health care field, especially as your body endures long hours and high stress levels.
Water has many benefits, one of the biggest being that it releases stress and keeps your body hydrated.
Bring a large water bottle with you to work each day and keep it nearby for easy access.
Try to replace sugary, caffeinated drinks by consistently drinking water to keep your cravings down.
Bring Lunch or Dinner
Many hospitals feature great cafeterias with many options for convenient meals. Instead of relying on them for every shift, try preparing your own lunches and dinners in advance to make sure you’re eating your healthiest.
Take some time out on your day off to prepare meals in advance. Pack them in brown bags or plastic bags and bring each pack to work. Think healthy sandwiches and plenty of vegetables for great natural energy.
In order to stay as healthy as possible, it is vital for you to keep moving instead of staying stationary for long periods of time. An easy way to incorporate this is by having walking meetings or finding time to hit your company’s gym a few times per week.
Walking for as little as 20 minutes a day can have a significant impact on your health and can reduce risk of heart disease, so count your steps and make it happen.
Recover From Stress
When you’re responsible for the overall health and wellness of others, it can be difficult to avoid the stresses and pressure that comes along with it.
That’s why it’s important to take frequent short breaks between your tasks or meetings. This will give both your mind and body a chance to recover from the stress it has been facing throughout the day. You will find yourself feeling more refreshed and active throughout the day thanks to these breaks.
By the Numbers
The health care sector is expected to add nearly 2 million new jobs by 2028, giving the industry a 14% growth rate. This is a much faster rate than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What has put the industry on such a big growth track? An aging population is expected to lead to a greater demand for health care services.
What Can Health Care Professionals Earn?
The median annual wage for health care practitioners and technical occupations (such as registered nurses, physicians and surgeons, and dental hygienists) was $66,440 in May 2018, which was higher than the median annual wage for all occupations in the economy of $38,640, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Let’s take a look at some of the top jobs in the medical industry, along with their average 2018 salaries and educational requirements. Information has been provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Athletic trainers: bachelor’s degree, $47,510 average annual income. Specialized in preventing, diagnosing, and treating muscle and bone injuries and illnesses.
Audiologists: doctoral or professional degree, $75,920 average annual income. Skilled in diagnosing, managing and treating patients’ hearing, balance or ear problems.
Chiropractors: doctoral or professional degree, $71,410 average annual income. Treat patients with health problems of the neuromusculoskeletal system.
Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians: bachelor’s degree, $52,330 average annual income. Collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue and other substances.
Dental assistants: postsecondary nondegree award, $38,660 average annual income. Provide patient care, take X-rays, keep records and schedule appointments.
Dental hygienists: associate degree, $74,820 average annual income. Clean teeth, examine patients for signs of oral diseases such as gingivitis and provide other preventive dental care.
Dentists: doctoral or professional degree, $156,240 average annual income. Diagnose and treat problems with patients’ teeth, gums and related parts of the mouth.
Technologists: associate degree, $67,080 average annual income. Diagnostic medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including vascular technologists, operate special imaging equipment to create images or to conduct tests.
Dietitians and nutritionists: bachelor’s degree, $60,370 average annual income. Advise people on what to eat in order to lead a healthy lifestyle or achieve a specific health-related goal.
EMTs and paramedics: postsecondary nondegree award, $34,320 average annual income. Respond to emergency calls, performing medical services and transporting patients to medical facilities.