'Stress is not knowing what’s coming': COVID-19 fight can take toll on healthcare workers
SASKATOON -- A call from the Canadian Psychologist Association for registered psychologists in Canada to lend their services to health care workers dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic is being welcomed in Saskatchewan.
For Tracy Zambory, president of the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses, the aid is “timely and so needed”.
"We’re smart, we’re highly educated, but we’re not free from stress and mental health issues," she said.
"Stress is not knowing what’s coming. Because as registered nurses, we have to be very Type-A, controlling types of people, because we have people’s lives in our hands. When you don’t know what’s coming at you from one hour to the next, that’s extremely stressful."
Saskatchewan psychologist Dr. Phillip Carverhill empathizes with that perspective.
"Hoping that it will not be overwhelming, and hoping that it doesn’t come to the point that it may have in other parts of the world, but preparing for the possibility that it may," he said.
Carverhill believes healthcare workers who see a psychologist will return to work with coping tools they potentially didn’t have before.
“The vast majority of what we do is listen,” he said. “Helping a person realize that these are abnormal circumstances—you’re normal.”
Zambory said healthcare workers are facing uncertainty and having to are asking themselves difficult questions every day they go to work.
“Will I have the personal protective equipment, and when I do need it is it going to be there? How many people am I going to be in charge of, am I going to be able to manage what’s in front of me, and am I going to be able to keep myself safe? Is my employer going to keep me safe, and in turn, am I going to be able to keep my family safe,” she said.
But despite the challenges healthcare workers are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic, Zambory said there's one simple thing anyone can do to help.
“Give us a fighting chance, stay home.”