The Critical Role of Health Care Professionals During the Pandemic

4 min

Healthcare workers from all over the world form a vital workforce to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since COVID-19 cases are rising in 2021, Healthcare leaders continue to develop new intensive care units and hospitals for the sole purpose of treating those affected by the pandemic. However, this sparked an increase in the demand for healthcare workers everywhere. It is the case because COVID-19 isn’t the first pandemic we are facing.

For example, the SARS pandemic of 2003 presented the same concerns. People took the same preventive measures to avoid its spread. After all, it was another strain of the coronavirus. That said, healthcare workers are a vital part of the workforce that battles against a pandemic and stops spreading everywhere. Let us take a detailed look at how these healthcare professionals play their role whenever a pandemic strikes.

Healthcare officials are a reliable source of information during a pandemic:

People affected by a pandemic will inevitably turn to healthcare professionals, especially family physicians, as they are the most trustworthy source of information. Family physicians are sometimes even more reliable than your typical public healthcare organization. It might be because of the longstanding healthy doctor-patient relationship and the underlying mistrust in governmental healthcare organizations. Therefore, these physicians have to remain up-to-date with the latest information regarding a pandemic and other healthcare-related issues.

Another way that these physicians help out is when patients are in isolation. Whenever a patient tests positive for a communicable disease or virus, their family physicians are the first ones on the scene, reinforcing healthcare measures. They help how quarantine is the best way to stop the spread of any viruses, followed by good hygiene.

Educational requirements for becoming a public healthcare professional:

Public healthcare usually deals with outbreaks, pandemics, and infectious diseases. Whether it be a public healthcare nurse, physician, or administrator, they educate patients regarding pandemic management, advocate for their safety during one, and much more. To become a public healthcare professional such as a healthcare administrator, individuals will first complete a bachelor’s in public health administration. 

They then need to acquire a campus-based or online MHA degree. Both sides of a medical facility hold the same importance. Such a degree will teach them the trade tools to manage both effectively.

Pandemic planning:

A core aspect of pandemic recovery is analyzing the lessons learned, using research-based results to plan for tackling future pandemics. This type of pandemic preparedness measure usually takes place inside a public healthcare facility. After all, changes will begin from within an organization and slowly spread to the masses.

Healthcare professionals, such as caregivers and administrators, know of this and enforce policies that encourage safe medical practices. These include; distribution of PPE for every employee working inside the medical facility to something as simple as washing their hands after coming in contact with a patient.

Monitoring for signs of disease or virus contraction:

Healthcare professionals are a vital part of any disease monitoring system. They identify infectious diseases and report their findings to public health organizations and leaders worldwide. For example, when a patient contracts any virus, their first contact point is their primary caregiver, be it a nurse or a physician.

In most cases, these healthcare professionals are even quicker than emergency services. They can know about the spread of a pandemic earlier than anybody else. It is vital when monitoring patients as they will be the first to deal with the affected patients, preventing a pandemic resurgence.

Providing treatment to pandemic-affected communities 

While only a few people will require hospitalization during a pandemic, healthcare professionals will treat most of the affected at their homes. It is because they will experience mild symptoms in the beginning. For instance, during the recent outbreak of COVID-19 in Ontario, only 11.6 percent of affected patients were hospitalized. In comparison, 90 percent received treatment at home.

Treating individuals inside their homes will remove any possibility of the pandemic from spreading while also removing strain from the medical facilities. After all, there is more chance of spread when receiving treatment at a hospital than at home. For example, according to a group of healthcare professionals in Italy, hospitals are the primary carriers of COVID-19 because they house hundreds of patients affected by the pandemic. Hence, medical professionals prefer providing care to communities inside their homes rather than asking them to visit their local hospital. It reduces the chance of spread and reserves already constrained hospital resources.

Providing vaccinations:

Whenever there is a pandemic, it usually takes time to study the virus or disease to develop its vaccine. If and when vaccines become available, healthcare professionals will play a vital role in delivering them to the population. While the public healthcare system will coordinate such a process, healthcare professionals will act as foot soldiers for the quick delivery of vaccines to different communities.

For example, according to an influenza vaccine-based survey in 2009, around one-third of all surveyed individuals were reluctant to receive the vaccine even after numerous public healthcare system efforts. However, due to healthcare professionals’ countless efforts, vaccines made their way to various countries and communities. If you want to achieve the same thing, consider enrolling in an online mph degree program. It will allow you to work in the public healthcare sector and perform the same duties to mitigate a pandemic if one occurs in the future.

Aiding with post-pandemic recovery:

Considering the aftereffects of a pandemic, during COVID-19, when many people lost their job and social contact reduced, much rebuilding has to occur post-pandemic. Some people will have more significant healthcare needs due to prolonged physical distancing, which harmed their mental and physical health.

In this post-pandemic period, a healthcare professional’s role will be vital for catering to these needs. As there will be a relaxation in social distancing measures, more and more people will require counseling, mental health services, and better overall preventative care. Even when it is over, it will take tons of effort and countless hours on the healthcare professionals’ part to bring back society to its formally functioning self.

To conclude

A pandemic’s response requires flexibility and extensive adaptation by all healthcare professionals, be it a nurse, administrator, or physician. Nevertheless, the focus at the beginning of any pandemic should be on mitigating it before it spreads everywhere. We now have to reflect and learn from our past experiences to best prepare for any future pandemic. And healthcare professionals will always remain on the front line, educate people, help affected communities, and fulfill post-pandemic needs. No matter how impossible it may sound.

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