Who treats our healthcare providers?

Namrata Devikar
Monday, 28 May 2018

A day in the life of a doctor, a nurse, a ward boy or a social worker in a hospital includes many happy and sad moments. The overall well-being of medical professionals is equally important to keep the healthcare system working and deliver quality care for everyone.

Pune: A day in the life of a doctor, a nurse, a ward boy or a social worker in a hospital includes many happy and sad moments. The overall well-being of medical professionals is equally important to keep the healthcare system working and deliver quality care for everyone.

Speaking about the neglect of work-related stress among medical professionals, Dr Manjeet Santre from the Psychiatry Department of Sassoon General Hospital (SGH) said doctors can be the worst patients. He emphasised on the hesitation in acknowledging work-related stress.

“Many doctors do not openly talk about mental health issues. We understand that as resident doctors, many come from other states. There are a lot of doctors who feel home sick and have a lot of pressure of studies as well. Hence, identifying these issues is important,” said Dr Santre.

Dr Santre said that after identification, it is important to have proper counselling. “There is a lot of stigma attached with mental health issues even among medical professionals. We see that many doctors, who suffer from anxiety and depression, do not share their condition with others. So, we cannot help them,” said Dr Santre. He said SGH has started carrying out an overall check-up of resident doctors who are getting admission. 

Sharing similar views, Dr Sagar Mundada, a consultant psychiatrist at Healthsprings, Mumbai, said about half the medical professionals suffer mental health issues. 

“There is a lot of stigma attached to mental health. The doctors feel that if they share their condition, their capabilities will be judged, hampering their professional growth. Due to stress and more work, many doctors are under-slept. There is also a lot of emotional trauma and work burden,” said Dr Mundada. He added that one of the simple solutions to keep the stress level down is to engage in physical exertion.

Speaking about her day, Varsha Bangar, a nurse at the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Aundh District hospital said many happy and sad moments are shared by staff members at the unit. “We get many critical cases every day. But to see each one of them win and lose does take a toll on our emotional well-being. As women, we are more attached to babies and their mothers. As nurses, many times we tend to babies before the doctor. So, their care is again our responsibility. But sometimes, as a team we lose a baby and along with the mother we are also inconsolable. Going home with all of this burden is a huge task,” said Bangar.

She said the emotional stress does not reach the family space. “We have to balance our lives in such a way that our family matters do not affect our professional work and vice-versa. The best way to do so is to speak to co-workers,” said Bangar.

She emphasised that communication between team workers is the key. “All the nurses at the NICU and the doctors meet up at least once a day to talk to each other. We share happiness and sorrow. This helps us manage the stress very well,” said Bangar. She added that nurses choose to spend time for themselves for going on a walk after work. “Many of us walk for 15-20 minutes or practise yoga and meditation in the morning to keep calm,” said Bangar.

What helps?
Communication and sharing work stress
Physical exercise
Yoga and Meditation
Seeking help from counsellors

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