On my run this morning, I started thinking about the aftermath of COVID-19 for healthcare, particularly clinics. Most clinics have had to furlough or lay off employees as mandates have limited services to only emergency surgeries and procedures.
As I have been coaching with practice administrators and physicians, some are planning for 10-12 hour days and Saturdays to catch up from the backlog of appointments, surgeries, and procedures. The handwriting on the wall suggests the aftermath could be more detrimental than the current state with regards to well-being.
One approach could be that since there has been some downtime in the schedules, we are all ready to kick work into high gear with all hands on deck. After all, this should only be for a season. In nature, seasons last three months. However, I see providers with appointments, surgeries, and procedures booked out for at least three months. If clinics are closed for one to three months, we can start doing the math and see how long this season might last, four to eight months. How sustainable is this long of a season without a chronic fight or flight response?
The fight or flight response resides in the sympathetic nervous system. The flight or flight response causes us to react in danger or when we need to respond quickly. This is a good thing when it is balanced. When we become chronically stressed the stress hormone, cortisol, can become too high causing other additional health problems.
How do you prepare to minimize the chronic fight or flight response? One, you can become mindful of the handwriting on the wall and verbalize the challenges that are ahead. Here are a few more strategies that might be helpful:
For now, everyone stay safe and stay mindful!