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Identifying Stressors in Response to COVID-19

Wellbeing: It’s Time for a 360° Approach

Tuesday, September 15, 10:00 – 11:00 am (ET)

Comprehensive Otolaryngology Track


Jo A. Shapiro, MD

A global pandemic has only magnified the rates of stress and burnout that were already significant problems within the healthcare profession.

Being able to identify stressors helps to problem solve, according to Jo A. Shapiro, MD, who plans to discuss the added strain the pandemic has placed on physicians in this special COVID-19 series session on Tuesday. Joining her on this Panel Presentation are Renee Ostertag, MD, and David J. Brown, MD.

Troubleshooting stressors might mean passing on to leaders that more PPE is needed or simply letting physicians discuss what they’re dealing with. Ahead of her session, Dr. Shapiro identified five different obstacles that healthcare professionals have likely grappled with since the onset of COVID-19.

  1. Grief. “So many patients are dying, and families are separated from their patients as they’re dying,” said Dr. Shapiro. Even for those who haven’t had patients or loved ones die, there’s a lot of sadness surrounding the virus.
  2. Practice disruption. “And then even if you’re not on the front lines taking care of COVID-19 patients,” she said, “pretty much everybody’s practices have been disrupted with massive changes, loss of income, loss of educational opportunities—just a lot of loss.”
  3. Guilt. “There’s guilt, and I’ve found this to be true for otolaryngologists and a lot of physicians who aren’t necessarily working in the ICU taking care of COVID-19 patients,” she said. “People feel guilty they’re not doing that. I’m not used to sitting on the sidelines. How is this okay?”
  4. Fear and uncertainty. People want to know when they’ll practice normally again—or if that can even happen. Some physicians, Dr. Shapiro said, are afraid they won’t be able to rehire personnel again after being forced to let them go. “And people did have to, actually. They couldn’t afford to keep some of their personnel, to keep their practices afloat. So there’s a fear of what’s going to happen, and when is this going to end?”
  5. Anger. “Our national governmental response to the pandemic has been pretty bad,” said Dr. Shapiro. “And I think people are angry about that, and that’s fair. We should be. The other source of anger: We’ve just seen starkly something we knew before … and that’s just how much our system—and we’re part of it—has not met the needs of vulnerable populations.”

If you miss this live event, it will be available in the on-demand library of education content within 72 hours following the presentation.