Heroes do not wear capes. Some wear scrubs and lab coats. Healthcare professionals are true heroes for everything they do to keep us feeling our best. That often means dealing with difficult, sometimes even dangerous situations. Life as a healthcare professional can be extremely rewarding, but there will certainly be challenges along the way. Healthcare professionals are on the front line everyday.
Life as a Healthcare Professional
A day in the life of a healthcare professional is often filled with stressful situations and perplexing medical challenges, revolving around their patients, patient family members, and fellow coworkers. For nurses, life on the front lines can mean trying to juggle a large patient load while covering for a nurse on break and trying to help train a new CNA. For physicians, it can mean seeing patients all day before going on call for the emergency department.
In short, it’s busy and can involve working extreme hours and lengthy shifts. If that wasn’t enough, there’s an extra challenge to consider. Healthcare professionals are routinely working with people who are experiencing one of the most difficult times of their lives. Patients and their families can be stressed, scared, unsure of what to do and in need of help and support. Healthcare professionals must navigate these emotional difficulties while still providing cutting-edge treatment and the best level of care possible.
Front Lines Turn Violent
There are many risk factors that come into play when handling patients and medical situations:
- Working with people who have a history of violence, who may be delirious, or be under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Working alone
- Presence of firearms or other weapons
- Working in neighborhoods with high crime rates
- Inadequate security staff
- Long wait times and overcrowded waiting rooms
- Unrestricted public access
These and many other factors may contribute to the occurrence of violent acts toward healthcare professionals. Many healthcare establishments strive to provide safe facilities and proper staffing to minimize the risk, but bad things can still happen.
Sometimes healthcare professionals face violence from patients, family members and people off the street. Assaults on nurses and other hospital staff are not uncommon, and facility support following these incidents can sometimes be lacking.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that healthcare has unique cultural factors that lead to underreporting or acceptance of workplace violence. Their “Workplace Violence in Healthcare” report states that, “Caregivers feel a professional and ethical duty to ‘do no harm’ to patients. Some will put their own safety and health at risk to help a patient, and many in healthcare professions consider violence to be ‘part of the job.’”
This compassion or empathy toward individuals who commit violent acts is part of what makes professionals in the healthcare fields so important. Not only are they willing to help people, but many times, they do it without concern for their own safety or health risk. That’s because they are heroes putting others, often times strangers, before themselves. They have direct impact on the wellbeing of the citizens within their community.
Healthcare professionals wouldn’t put up with such challenges if they didn’t find it rewarding. Caring for ill patients is in a nurse’s DNA, and doctors thrive when putting their expertise to work for people in need. Yes, healthcare professionals may be on the front lines, but they wouldn’t have it any other way — and that’s what makes them heroes.