Health & Beauty

How You Can Support Healthcare Workers During COVID-19

By Tim Piccione
20th Jan 2022

girl wearing protective clothing and a mask

The Omicron wave continues to make its mark across the country and resilient healthcare workers are feeling the strain.

For the first time in the state’s history, Victoria has issued a Code Brown with nurses calling on military for urgent help. Healthcare workers in Queensland, who are asymptomatic, may have to keep working due to staff shortages and there have been stories of nurses in NSW who don’t feel comfortable enough to take sick days, despite the many cases of extreme burnout and exhaustion.

We owe an immeasurable debt to Australia’s healthcare workers—one which continues to accrue as we enter year three of this pandemic and the hardships it continues to bring. 

Australia’s healthcare workers are doing it tough so here are some easy ways to support them during COVID-19, wherever you are.

Reach Out To Your Mate In Healthcare

It’s easy to forget that those who work so tirelessly in healthcare might need some help of their own. 

Although you might not have that kind of conversation with a total stranger working in a hospital (although you might), that worker will have friends and family who can. If you know someone doing doubles in ICU care, covering extra nurse shifts to help with staff shortages or spending their days at the end of those long testing clinic lines–make sure you’re checking in on them. It could be something as simple as a text, a catch-up, shout them a coffee or lunch, or even encouraging them to seek professional help if needed. 

Get Boosted

A sure-fire way to show healthcare workers we appreciate them is by making sure we do everything in our power to not need them at all. With nearly 93 per cent of Australia’s population over the age of 16 already double vaxxed, you’re likely nearly eligible for your third shot. The idea is that, should you become infected, that booster will do wonders to prevent you from being so sick you need hospital or doctor care, thus relieving the pressure on healthcare workers. Check your state’s health guidelines for booster shot eligibility, currently available four months after your second jab around the country and now three months after for NSW and Victorian residents.

Follow Health Guidelines

Again, nothing says thank you like not giving legends in healthcare more work to do. An easy way to do that is by following guidelines, health advice and restrictions currently in place. Of course, we should all be out and about again supporting the businesses in our communities doing it tough after lockdowns but it means doing that intelligently and making sure we’re wearing masks to protect ourselves as much as possible. 

Contracting COVID-19 on purpose so it fits within your social calendar is also a big no.
Finally, follow health advice and try not to overwhelm facilities by testing with RAT kits when you can, only going into the hospital if required and being sure to book GP appointments rather than simply rocking up out of the blue. 

Be Patient And Considerate

This one is pretty simple and should be practised at all times interacting with healthcare workers. Things are intense for everyone right now, and frustrations over wait times, staff shortages and general difficulties are understandable. But the last person you should be taking out that irritation on is the nurse or doctor doing their best with the short end of the stick they’ve been dealt. 

Just take a deep breath and remember the immense stress that healthcare workers are currently under, as well as the risk they face each day coming to work. 

Finally, a thank you goes a long way. 

On that note, here's how to manage COVID-19 at home, according to a registered nurse.

Image credit: Luke Jones

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