There is so much uncertainty around the world with the COVID-19 pandemic. The current events we’re hearing almost don’t sound real, like we’re living in a weird movie, it’s just wild
As we’re currently living this, Covid- 19 is effecting every single person in some way, on a day to day basis the news of the spread is rapidly changing. As the situation builds so do the responses, each country is trying to ensure healthcare systems are not overwhelmed. But political effectiveness of strategies seem to be different in the developed and developing countries.
Economics has been greatly effected with the lockdown of small businesses, the owners have had to close, with the impact also effecting their employees. Large companies such as airlines are basically grounded with the closure of international borders. Many people live pay cheque to pay cheque, many people are being left without a job and in worrying financial situations.
We have the media bombarding us, like a constant tap on the shoulder that we sometimes want some space from, so to catch some breath. But as there is no escaping what has happened in China, Europe and now the US. Each day I feel the urgency of the impact here in Australia, we are definitely in the preparing phase.
Covid-19 has high transmissibility and seems to effect each individual differently with some people having mild symptoms and with others requiring ventilation in ICU, the most dire consequences being death.
COVID-19 coronavirus is a public health issue, it is imperative to protect the community through measures of –
- Personal measures – hand hygiene
- Community measures – social isolation
- Environmental measures- cleaning of surfaces
Droplet spread is the main mode of transmission, therefore infection control is foremost to protect the community, frequent hand washing with soap and water is the most effective measure.
Isolation or quarantine is to prevent and slow the spread of this virus, as history has displayed with the handling of previous viral pandemics, the 1918 flu pandemic caused more than 25 million deaths in less than 25 weeks.
At the moment my life is travelling from work to home and home to work, but this virus has made me think about what it demands from all of us and that is our time. I’ve had to take a step back and put all my usual expectations on hold, I’ll get back to my ‘normal’ life once it safe to so from a health perspective.
I am just grateful of what I do have and I am appreciative we have great infrastructure, there is water, electricity/gas, wifi and plenty of food.
Apparently, internet usage globally has surged by 30%, as people are staying interconnected using technology to work from home, staying connected to love ones or even utilising the internet for entertainment purposes. Technology has been turned into a great strength, the future is being realigning as new ways we work and live is currently being created.
Within nursing, Telehealth is allowing services to be utilised by limiting face to face exposure of patients and health professionals to the coronavirus. Consultations are made from peoples homes through telephone or video conferencing for GP services, mental health treatment and chronic disease management. Telehealth still uses nurses clinical knowledge, technical skills, listening skills with sound decision making processes and with care that is prioritised.
This experience is not what any of us are accustomed to and some things that are occurring are –
- Unfortunately this is the saddest part of the blog but at the moment- Behaviours- (1) Stigmatising of cultures (2) Seeing pictures of the amount of people at Bondi beach & St Kilda (3) At the supermarket people who have picked up 2 packets of toilet paper instead of the allocated 1 pack of tp (4) The worse is hearing the reports of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) being pinched from healthcare facilities is plain appalling —Kindness is ‘the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate’.
- Small businesses is the foundations of Australia and the financial stressors felt at the moment, must be to the extreme. My hat goes off to all small business owners.
- Another group of people I would say are Awesome are these working in the Supermarkets- Thank you.
- Support from different industries working together, such as supermarkets who are accepting people from other sectors that are currently shut down, with redeployment from airlines, cinemas and retail industries.
- Technology is keeping us connected in an agile way with FaceTime, Zoom through remote schooling, remote working, groups popping up for these with common interests, social organisations such as virtual singing events & book clubs, etc. Virtual hugs are more necessary now.
- Volunteer efforts are helping these that are the most vulnerable such as the elderly, people with a disability or these with a long term health condition. Meals On Wheels Australia has done a great job recruiting volunteers and ensuring basic nutritional needs are met throughout.
- Food delivery and apps, restaurants have had to adapt with the federal government bans on dining and have had to switch their business models to takeaway, check out- #thegreataussietakeaway
As humans it is in our nature to want to connect and interact especially with others, isolation is not easy, it is challenging if you live alone or even social distancing with loved ones, mental health such as self care is imperative.
This pandemic could still have months to run but many people are already feeling elevated levels of anxiety, social isolation and loneliness.
Looking after your mental health in home isolation –
- Remind yourself that this is a temporary period of isolation
- Remember that your effort is helping others in the community
- Stay connected with friends, family and colleagues via email, social media, or phone
- Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing
- Keep regular sleep routines and eat healthy foods
- Try to maintain physical activity
- For those working from home, try to maintain a healthy balance by allocating specific work hours, and taking regular breaks
- Avoid news and social media if you find it distressing
In Australia after the impact of bush fires and floods, no one could have predicted such a virus as Covid-19 occurring, especially on this global scale. I am hopeful with our current health technologies and innovations that the speed of research of new developments will be gained.
On a public health level, healthcare is only as good as the strategies of social distancing and as personal isolation is adhered to, collectively everyone in Australia has a responsible part to play. I understand there is mixed messages from the Commonwealth, State governments and the media generally. But a simple, short term measure such as staying home has significant impact, as it is to slow the inevitable.
2020 is the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, as health care workers we are braced knowing we are going to work with a global common enemy. As we watch the news and see how other countries are effected, it somewhat feels like a bit of the unknown as the impact it could have on us here in Australia. Nurses, we are accustomed to putting in our time and effort, we show up and extend ourselves to do the difficult work, even at times when it is not expected. We may not always get value, recognition or even have a voice but we continue to care for others with a sense of duty.
Our united compassion is our strength and now more than ever, I am proud to call myself a NURSE
- Lifeline: https://www.lifeline.org.au on 13 11 14
- Nurse & Midwife Support: https://www.nmsupport.org.au on 1800 667 877
- WHO- Live Updates: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert: https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert
- Healthdirect symptom checker: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/coronavirus
- How mindfulness can help during the coronavirus outbreak: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/personal-best/pillar/wellbeing/how-mindfulness-can-help-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak
- Novel coronavirus (COVID-19): What supply of medicines should I have at home? https://www.nps.org.au/coronavirus
- Smart Traveller website: https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/news-and-updates/coronavirus-covid-19