I am still going into my “essential” workplace, the specialty/emergency veterinary hospital. Why?
Not one case of Covid-19 has been diagnosed among staff, and I hope that continues. If luck runs out, then we will adjust again. Our clients have to leave their animals in a room without contact with staff, trusting nurses to immediately take the pet for assessment and treatment. All communication is provided by phone while owners wait in their cars. We have been able, though, to provide the people who are saying the final goodbye with an ability to be with and hold their beloved pet while still social distancing. It has just required creative problem solving. And we provide virtual visitation for owners with hospitalized patients. In a time of anxiety for all, at least we can provide some comfort.
Yet all staff know that they are also risking their health and the health of their closest loved ones by coming to work.
As a social worker, my workplace is “essential” not only because it is healthcare. The veterinary professionals, support staff, and all the workers are challenged yet motivated. They are motivated not by paychecks but by their team, the public needing their services in this trying time, and by their empathy for all furry and human. Simply, they are motivated deeply by empathy which is the foundation of compassion. This is true in every hospital or healthcare facility, HUMAN or ANIMAL, operating now. I am honored to be in the company of these individuals.
I see the enormity of stress and the anxiety on faces and in posture. There is more frequent utilization of counseling support and chocolates, superficial and pertinent/focused conversations. Sudden meltdowns have become normal. An extremely hard job full of stress, life, death, lots of death, physical and emotional presence is one focus vying with concern for loved ones outside, the future, and how to keep going. Additionally, life goes on; personal events still occur like births and deaths, weddings and relocations. Relationship issues worsen, and substance abuse recovery becomes more difficult. The rhythm of work in our hospital is an antidote, in a way, to all of the worry. The wagging or purring patient brings relief from all that the mind is combatting. Yet a moment lasts a moment only right now.
So yes, I will continue going into my “essential” workplace.