As the coronavirus outbreak continues to grow and the number of people needing medical treatment rises, doctors across the country are gearing up to fight the virus with everything they’ve got.
In this challenging time, medical staff have become our personal heroes. You only need to watch the viral videos of last Thursdays #clapforourcarers to see the amount of admiration people are feeling towards NHS workers right now. With every shift they complete, they’re saving lives – all while putting their own health at risk.
Rightly so, social media is now awash with messages of support and appreciation for the bravery these people are demonstrating with every day that passes.
But among all of this celebration and commendation, it’s important to remember that some medical staff are really struggling at the moment. Being a doctor or nurse doesn’t mean you’re immune from fear. Putting your health at risk to treat people with coronavirus may be a simple decision for some, but for others, it’s a terrifying prospect – and it’s a reminder why we shouldn’t take being able to stay at home for granted.
Rebecca Lawrence, an addictions and pain psychiatrist from Scotland, took to Twitter recently to share her experience working in the medical profession at this time. Working in psychiatry may not be the coronavirus “frontline” as such, but it’s likely that many more people will struggle with their mental health at this time. It’s also possible that doctors with specialisms, such as psychiatry, may be called to general medical wards to help the fight against coronavirus.
“I’m going to say something unpopular,” she wrote. “I wish I wasn’t a doctor. I wish I wasn’t terrified at what I may be asked to do. I wish I could self-isolate. Sorry.”
The tweet, which has since received over 190,000 likes, highlights the human impact behind the coronavirus crisis. It’s easy to assume that medical staff are well-equipped – both physically and mentally – to deal with any kind of crisis, but it’s important to remember that none of us have experienced something like this before.
Working from home and being able to self-isolate is a circumstance that doctors like Rebecca Lawrence aren’t afforded. Yes, staying home all the time may be boring, but there are people on the frontline of the fight against coronavirus who don’t have that choice.
If you’re able to keep your family safe by staying home, do so – some people don’t get that choice. Staying home is the single most important thing we can all do to save lives and make things easier for the NHS, so let’s all do our bit.