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Healthcare workers experience burnout amid the pandemic

Published: Feb. 25, 2021 at 9:47 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 25, 2021 at 10:28 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -Another COVID consequence is healthcare workers burning out.

A new Jackson Physician Search Survey shows out of 485 providers nationwide, 30 percent reported losing physicians during COVID-19.

Experts said the burnout is across the board in the healthcare field.

Sarah Wilka said she’s driven by her passion for helping people. Wilka stepped into scrubs as a certified nursing assistant 10 years ago.

“I’ve always had that in me to go above and beyond and just to help other people that need help,” she said. “It’s just who I am.”

Wilka is a CNA at a nursing home, but in a pandemic, caring for others comes with complications.

“They can’t understand what you’re saying and you can’t pull your mask down or any of that. It just gets really stressful,” she said.

Being dressed in PPE from head to toe creates a wall in between her and her patients. Normal, daily stressors are exacerbated by COVID. Wilka said she’s running on “E”.

“I’ve thought a lot of times I don’t want to do healthcare anymore,” she said.

“They are fatigued. They’re feeling pretty challenged,” Gina Dennik-Champion, executive director of the Wisconsin Nurses Association said.

Dennik-Champion meets with nurses on a regular basis, hearing stories of burnout first-hand.

“We do have some nurses that are leaving. Some may just be feeling too physically exhausted to perform the work,” she said.

Despite all the challenges, the patients remain the priority.

“What we’re hearing is they’re going to get through this COVID pandemic and when they know that patients are going to be cared for that’s when some of those folks will probably leave at that point,” Dennik-Champion said.

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