16 September 2020
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Researchers working on the frontline are now making steps to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare workers. 

The study is hoped to paint a picture of how to provide support for our healthcare staff during this crisis and better prepare for future crises.

The survey explores the important social, occupational and mental health effects experienced by frontline health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

The study has already attracted thousands of healthcare workers, but it’s hoped many more will take the survey to allow for a well-rounded study.

Respiratory Physician at the Royal Melbourne Hospital Associate Professor Natasha Smallwood said the study wasn’t just for staff who had worked directly with COVID-19 patients, instead it is open to all frontline health care workers.

“We want to hear from all health care workers. COVID-19 has had a major impact on our lives causing immense social, psychological and work changes, as well as how we deliver healthcare,” A/Prof Smallwood said.

A/Prof Smallwood reiterated that this study is being conducted by frontline workers and is all about identifying solutions to support our health workforce through the rest of this pandemic and any future ones.

“It’s likely this isn’t going to be the last pandemic we see, we need to make sure we are looking after our health workers and supporting them as much as possible through these incredibly difficult times.”

There is no understating how difficult this period has been on staff. Staff such as nurse Amal Solayman, who was working at our Royal Park Campus in AC4, throughout the peak of the second wave, looking after the states sickest and most vulnerable patients.

Amal said there was a high level of anxiety among staff as COVID patients arrived and a number of staff also contracted the virus.

“It was really overwhelming, the anxiety on the ward was very high. Trying to find the staff during that time was really hard. We had to be all hands on deck and really step up to the challenge,” Amal said.

It was also hard on the staff seeing patients pass away.

“We’re used to seeing patients pass away, but this was different, someone could deteriorate in a number of hours, that was really difficult to see,” Amal said.

AC4 no longer has any COVID-19 patients, however they are still remaining vigilant, knowing how quickly the virus can spread.

“Everyone is a bit on edge because it only takes one positive case to change things, we are hopeful the ward will remain COVID free from now on,” Amal said.

If you are a healthcare worker, you can take part in the survey at https://covid-19-frontline.com.au/

Photo of Amal Solayman by Jason South.

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