How Has COVID Affected Healthcare Workers?


By Hannah Humble, Reporter

Covid-19 has affected every single person in one way or another. But perhaps the people that it has affected the most are the healthcare workers. The people that work in healthcare have had to take many precautions to help keep themselves, as well as everyone around them, safe. Are there more precautions than just wearing masks and social distancing? The simple answer is yes- much more. Being a healthcare worker makes social distancing harder, so they do things like wearing extra protection. 

My Mama, Brooke Humble, is a physical therapist and she is a healthcare worker. This pandemic has affected her and the way that she works in so many ways. But maybe not in the way that you expect. It’s not just tiring physically, but emotionally as well. Although I haven’t been affected in the same way as the healthcare workers, I can see a glimpse of how it is affecting my mom. I asked her some questions about this topic and how COVID has affected her and her work. “Covid has affected my everyday life, as well as my work. When I get to my work, I have my temperature immediately taken and I have to answer a series of questions reporting if I have symptoms of Covid or not. I then have to put on an N 95 mask to wear for the remainder of the day while I am in the building.” You notice that as a healthcare worker during this pandemic, they are very strict on your health and making sure that you are in the best shape to work with patients. 

When it comes time to see patients, her precautions get even more serious. These aren’t there just for the fun of it, but they are there to protect her and her patients. “When I go to see a patient, I have to put on a full isolation gown, goggles, facemask, and gloves in addition to my N 95 mask. These are very very hot and they do not breathe. This is for a purpose because they also did not let the Covid Virus onto our clothes or skin. By the time I am finished seeing a patient for physical therapy, I’m usually very very hot and sweaty before I can take all of the protective equipment off. I might get a break two or three times a day where I can go outside and get fresh air and take my mask off.” This is the physical aspect that has affected her and her coworkers. It took some time for them to get used to wearing their masks all day when they are working with patients. On top of all of these precautions, she has to take a Covid test twice a week to make sure that she doesn’t test positive. 

She often gets physically tired, as well as emotionally tired. I can tell that her day has been long by the time she comes home from work. “We had to separate every single hall by positive and negative hall. We tried to protect the residence who did not have Covid and keep them from getting it. Unfortunately, a lot of our staff also had Covid and we were very short staffed. There were simply not enough people to see the patients. I work in an Alzheimer’s facility and many of our patients are what we call DNR… It means do not resuscitate. It means they do not want any means to prolong their life or send them to the hospital per their wishes. This also means when they contracted the Covid virus, many times they did not get better and passed away.  It was a very hopeless feeling seeing our wonderful patients pass away and knowing there was nothing we could do about it.  Every day after work, not only was I physically exhausted, but I was emotionally spent. I would go home and cry for about an hour because of how horrific things were that time. I don’t think anyone truly understands how awful this virus can be for the elderly population.” My mom works with mostly Covid patients, so death is something that she sees often. It’s hard and never gets any easier. Watching all of these sweet people die and become so affected by this virus is “gut wrenching” for her. We shouldn’t have to live life and worry like this, but it’s the reality of our world. But there’s always joy. 

This virus has also affected Ms. Humble in an emotional way because of the separation that it has caused. “My grandmother passed away in August. Four months, I was not able to talk to her in person or give her a hug. We were only allowed to talk to her on the phone while looking through a window.  Now that I am on the inside of one of those facilities, I tried to honor my grandmother and treat the residence like I would my own grandparents. I give them hugs because they can’t receive hugs from their family.  I put lotion on their back and feet because their family members aren’t able to do that for them.  I sing with them because they don’t have family to do that with them. Thankfully, the remaining residents have recovered and so have our staff. We are doing very well right now, by the grace of God.  I know that God has put me in this place taking care of these sweet residents on purpose. I know I am where I’m supposed to be.” 

As you can see, healthcare workers are affected by this virus more than you may understand. They are required to take huge measures of precautions to protect themselves, as well as the patients that they are in contact with. These affects aren’t always just physical, but emotional as well. So next time you see a healthcare worker, thank them for what they do and go through to make sure that you are safe and healthy.