Medicine And Emotion: Covid- 19 Overload

On Tuesday March 10, 2020 Jamaica recorded it’s first case of Covid- 19, since then every time you open up social media or listen to traditional media it’s all about Covid- 19. As healthcare workers, we are not only exposed  to non medical information but also the ever changing literature and protocols associated with same.

It’s getting to be too much.

With just a little over two weeks since the first case was announced, this never ending stream of information doesn’t seem like it will stop. From whatsapp forwards, to emails and advertisements, you cannot escape information- both true and false- about Covid- 19. Social media and technology have made information easy to share and consume. Many of us, health workers, are not able to keep up academically and emotionally.

The number of cases is piling up, the number of deaths across the world is increasing- many of them fellow health care workers too. It is not as if we can filter the information to just academic and leave out the parts where we see fellow men affected and killed by this disease. Everyone has an idea on how this can be solved, everyone has a voice. This drowns out the experts and creates a lot of white noise around the actual information we need and want to see.

When getting information about the disease and virus we must now ensure that the sources are reputable and verified. We must vet everything before we consume it.

With so much out there, with updates happening constantly and in real time… I think we may end up missing  more because of the overload and the inability to keep up. In my own private conversations after being sent something Covid- 19 related I said “I’m taking a break until Monday… it’s just too much all at once” and the response was “me too”.

Covid- 19 has brought up several issues with our health care system, education system, employment sector and other social issues that we now have to try and solve in real time. As much as we might not like to admit it… our brains are burnt out.
Healthcare professionals must now balance burn out with adequate information re protocols associated with and surrounding the prevention, identification and treatment of Covid- 19. In an effort to appropriately serve during this pandemic, we need to become resilient by knowing when to take a ‘time out’ then get back into the game refreshed and refocused.

So take a break- it’s okay. The information will be there when you get back.

Samantha C. Johnson

Featured photo can be found here.

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