Ashley Silva, a neurosurgical assistant, said the burnout happening to many in the healthcare profession ultimately impacts the quality of care patients receive.

AUSTIN, Texas — Just when many thought things were going back to normal, the latest COVID-19 variant came along.

The difference this time around is that people are tired, health care workers are facing burnout, and the U.S. Department of Labor says in 2021, they’ve been leaving their jobs at higher rates than at the start of the pandemic. 

Neurosurgical Assistant Ashley Silva has witnessed this firsthand.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic has happened, not only is there a demand for health care workers but people who have experienced it in the hospital setting at the height of everything in crisis have also left the field because of the effect of COVID-19,” said Silva. “How short-staffed it is, how much of a risk they’re putting themselves at, as well as the time spent away from their family and friends and responsibilities at home.”

Because of this staffing shortage, and now the new COVID wave, Silva’s physical and mental health has taken a toll.

“I don’t know how to explain it, but the general feeling of burnout and coming home and feeling tired and waking up and feeling tired already before having to go in, you know, because you’re realizing the amount of work that you’re taking on that day,” said Silva.

It hasn’t been an easy couple of months.

As people continue to leave the workforce and the U.S continues battling COVID, Silva worries about all the changes that’ll come with it.

“They’re tired,” she added. “They’re being overworked. They’re being underpaid. It starts to have a ripple effect and ultimately affects the quality of care that the patients are receiving.”

With omicron continuing to add to the patient volume, Silva’s only hope is that this ends soon. 

If you’re a healthcare worker struggling with feelings of stress, anxiety, fear or any other emotion, you’re not alone. Here are some tips from the CDC to help you cope with these emotions:

  • Communicate with your coworkers, supervisors and employees about job stress.
  • Remind yourself that everyone is in an unusual situation with limited resources.
  • Identify and accept those things which you do not have control over.
  • Recognize that you are performing a crucial role in fighting this pandemic and that you are doing the best you can with the resources available.
  • Try to get adequate sleep.
  • Make time to eat healthy meals.
  • Take breaks during your shift to rest, stretch or check in with supportive colleagues, coworkers, friends and family.
  • Spend time outdoors either being physically active or relaxing. Do things you enjoy during non-work hours.

If you’re concerned that you or someone in your household may harm themselves or someone else, contact these resources for guidance:

If you feel overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety:

If you need to find a treatment or mental health providers in your area:

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