Boiling salty COVID-19 water

In many parts of the world, tensions are at boiling point - and its nurses who are finding themselves getting burnt.

As my year 10 chemistry teacher would tell you, if something has reached boiling point you better not touch it unless you’ve got the right equipment, training and head space. If you don’t have all of these qualities the very real fact is - you’ll end up burnt. And with the current COVID-19 pandemic, this is exactly what our healthcare workers are in danger of right now.

The next thing my science teacher could tell you, is that the severity of your burn is going to depend on a few things; like how long you’ve been exposed to this boiling temperature, what protective equipment you were wearing and whether your training and head space allowed you to respond quickly enough to the burn.

Generally, our front line healthcare workers are exposed to simmering tensions for short periods at a time, and we’ve got enough resources(equipment, training and head space) to manage what’s in front of us.  But when the situation reaches boiling point, we find ourselves stretched. In the past we’ve experienced and managed boiling tensions before. Fortunately, these have been short lived.

This pandemic presents as a totally new scenario and situation.

The pot has been boiling in countries like Italy for a while now, and it’s not showing any signs of slowing. In Australia tensions might only be simmering, but if we don’t contain, protect and look after each other, we will be in a very similar situation to Italy and our likelihood of being seriously injured as the spill-over increases exponentially.

However, the good news is that there are ways to manage these boiling temperatures; with the right equipment, training and head space we can work together to manage this tension. In Australia we may end up being pushed to the limits, but if we prepare now, we have a fighting chance to limit the devastation of COVID-19. Not only for our patients, but for ourselves. Let’s prepare with the right education on how to manage COVID-19 patients. Then let’s make sure we test the fitting of our N95 masks and practice donning and removing our PPE. Finally, find a way to offload and clear some of those mental hurdles and bricks, through meditation, breathing exercises, talking to an understanding friend or writing a reflective journal. Together we can do this,but only together.

So, let’s do what we do best, let’s look after each other. Here’s a little exercise to help you get through those tough days. If something is bothering you or you can’t find a solution, think SACA.

Take 3 deep breaths. Focus purely on those breaths.

Shift back to the problem. What are the facts?

With those facts in mind, what are your options?

Decide on the next step and plan ahead. Maybe it’s simply asking for help.

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