By Jay Kaplan, MD, Medical Director of Care Transformation for LCMC Health, emergency physician at University Medical Center New Orleans
To all of the folks who work in our hospitals and our clinics—I know these are difficult times. I have intense feelings about the situation we find ourselves in, so much so that I was moved to write the following:
I’ve had enough.
I’ve had enough fear, enough grief, enough sadness, enough uncertainty—maybe not enough anger.
In truth, there is little I can do other than to continue to spread what hope I can muster,
what love I have in my heart to as many people as I can,
to live with integrity and with gratitude,
and to constantly remind myself that the glass is half-full if I allow it to be so.
So, I do understand that these are not easy times.
We’re on your side.
I want to assure you that at the highest levels of senior leadership of LCMC Health, we’re on your side. We’re going to make sure that you have enough personal protective equipment, that we have enough ICU beds and enough ventilators, that we can meet this third wave of COVID-19 cases. And that as soon as we get the capability to vaccinate you, we will do so.
We’re people-people, and we understand how important you are. No one, no one person, is any more important than anybody else on our team.
As a physician, I’ve never felt that I’m any more important than a nurse, or a tech, or a pharmacist or a transporter. We all have our roles to play. Yes, I want you to know that understanding comes from the highest level of LCMC Health.
Take care. Take heart.
I have a few tips for our healthcare workers—our folks who are taking care of others. Number one, if you’re feeling stressed, you’re normal. Don’t keep it inside. It’s OK to not have it all together. If you need to go into a room and cry, just tell the folks that you work with that you need to let go a little bit so that they won’t worry about you.
If you need help or assistance, we have our [employee assistance program] available to you. We also have [virtual psychological first aid]. We have the capability, in a flash, for you to call someone. In addition, we are creating a peer support ally program, where there will be
people working alongside you who—if you’re feeling in a tough place—you can reach out and connect directly with them.
I also want you to know that having an attitude of gratitude can be helpful. Because if I’m speaking to you and you’re currently working at an LCMC Health facility, you have a job: That’s something to be grateful for—there are a lot of people that don’t. And you have an organization that is firmly on your side to give you what you need to continue to have a fulfilling profession and a fulfilling life.
Rest, nourish, exercise—self-care starts here.
Our emotions, our minds and our bodies are intimately interconnected. So, if we want to take care of our emotions, we have to take care of our bodies. How can we take care of our bodies? Get enough rest, exercise on a regular basis and eat well.
- Eat well means there’s no one particular diet. Eat what nourishes you.
- Sleep well means get at least seven hours of sleep at night.
- Exercise means, ideally, five times a week, but if you can do three times a week, then three times a week. Moderate exercise, which could just be brisk walking, for 30 minutes—10 minutes three times a day is fine. Exercising for 30 minutes a day, three to five times a week, will raise the chemicals in your body called endorphins that will help you feel better.
I’ll also share that we’re here for you. Talk to your supervisor. Reach out to us in our new center for well-being—we will help you in any way that we can.
From our heart to yours
Finally, we send our best wishes for a great holiday season. In this season of giving thanks, if we can focus on our gratitude for what we have, it will help us continue to care as well for our patients as we care for ourselves and our families.
Thanks for everything that you do.