Health Matters: Doctors and Stress
By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Kyle Hamrick
The COVID-19 pandemic began two years ago, a battle with an unknown virus that has changed so much of daily life in Alabama, across the country and around the world.
Often times people see doctors, nurses and other medical professionals as somehow removed from the illnesses they encounter each day. But they are people whose lives have been upended by the pandemic, too.
Dr. John Burkhardt, a clinical psychologist at University Medical Center-Northport, explained how the pandemic affected medical professionals’ mental health.
“First of all it wasn’t just us, it was everybody that we worked with. The nurses, the support staff, all of us are just kind of going through this never ending thing,” he said.
The light at the end of the tunnel doctors often see in the medicine they practice, Burkhardt continued, did not seem to appear in the early days of the pandemic.
“Here we’re doing this thing and we don’t, for the first time, we don’t know, and we’re working longer hours and then things are kind of changing.”
The uncertainty surrounding vaccines emerging to combat the virus, all the information they had to convey to patients and their families and the armor of masks and protective suits they had to wear at work compounded the stress.
“You really like being around people and now you have all this garb on, that has just kind of built this wall and takes away from one of the things that you enjoy which is interacting with people,” he said.
For all your primary health care needs visit the University Medical Center with locations in Tuscaloosa, Northport, Demopolis, Fayette and Carrollton.