ABC7: After 2 Years on the Front Lines of COVID Pandemic, Burnout Among Healthcare Workers Is Rampant
ABC7 recently interviewed Cedars-Sinai experts Sam S. Torbati, MD, co-chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine, and Jonathan Vickburg, associate director of Cedars-Sinai Community Health Improvement, about burnout among healthcare workers.
After living through the COVID-19 pandemic for two years, many people are frustrated, and some are taking out their anger on healthcare workers. Patience can be scarce when one is sick and worried, and healthcare workers who are just trying to help often bear the brunt of patients' frustrations. People have especially been acting out in emergency rooms, which were busier than usual last month during the height of the omicron surge.
Torbati told ABC7 that he's seen patients shouting, screaming profanities and threatening staff.
"We've had scenarios where family members come in and they refuse to wear their mask. We ask them to, and they say no," said Torbati, who is medical director of the Ruth and Harry Roman Emergency Department. "It deflates the staff, it burns them out, it makes them cry."
It’s been a tough two years with little opportunity to recover, said Vickburg, a licensed marriage and family therapist, explaining what might be causing the bad behavior. "Multiple little traumas make a big trauma. We are dysregulated in the body," Vickburg told ABC7.
He said people want to feel connected and seen and heard. To avoid losing control, Vickburg advised "being patient, breathing, staying in our bodies and being calm."
Torbati agreed that treating others with respect will make challenging times easier. "If we're kind and caring and civil with each other, it will help us get through this together much better," he told ABC7.
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