“Flatten the curve. PPE. Social distancing. Pandemic. COVID. Four months ago, few of us truly knew what those terms meant. Now, it is hard to imagine anyone who has not used at least one of them in the last few hours.
Not only have these last few months been unlike any other in my training, but they have harshly highlighted strengths and deficits in our healthcare system.
There are three challenging and recurrent themes I have reflected on in daily practice: being limited in the use of life-prolonging measures; reconciling that our patients are alone for very difficult decisions and during end of life; and needing to take every precaution and minimize patient interaction that may increase risks of exposure, when these very interactions comprise the ethos of providing humanistic care. Unfortunately this is becoming the new normal.
I struggle with this every day and hope that the humanity that attracted me to this profession is not lost. Although we are adapting to the new normal of patient-clinician environments, I am grateful for the cohesiveness of our teams and colleagues, and thankful I am able to do a job that I love and enjoy. I am not a hero. While appreciative to the sentiment, I do not believe in it for myself. I am doing my job, a job that I love – a job I fought extremely hard for and a job I have had the privilege of continuing to practice during this pandemic. Even so – flatten the curve. PPE. Social distancing. Pandemic. COVID – how I wish you were still terms I did not have to know.”