Why Upskilling Workers is a Matter of Life or Death

Alisha Moopen is the Deputy Managing Director for AsterDM Healthcare.

“Healthcare continues to disrupt our life, and we know that we are going to have to live with this reality for some time longer in a situation like this with a sustained and continuous stress.

Over the last 15 months, it has taken a serious emotional and mental toll on our healthcare workers. There are a few things that we’ve been trying to do as an organization to ensure that we are keeping people safe, sane and protected as much as possible, considering the circumstances.

The first part of it is the physical security and safety – making sure that all of our staff have the right PPE, everyone is trained as far as COVID protocols and safety are concerned, and, more recently, making sure everyone is vaccinated so that the physical protection and immunity against this virus is there is extremely important. That has been the easier aspect to manage.

But the second part of it [is viewed] in terms of the sustained stress. This chronic fatigue that is setting in amongst the healthcare workers is a real public health challenge, and it is something that we need to be addressing very actively, considering that we see this going on for quite some time. We have set up counseling services online, where people can easily access an app and chat boards and psychologists to have someone to come to talk to or when they’re feeling anxious.

Keeping that environment as dynamic as possible and as open as possible to seek that feedback, seek those inputs, despite all the chaos that is in the system, is very important. And that’s something all of us are working actively to do – to make sure that people talk when they need to and people take that time off when they need to.

We have also created a small fund dedicated to people who have had financial issues and difficulties, where members of members of the family have lost jobs or other issues happening at home where there’s a financial insecurity.

As an organization, we are trying to address how people are thinking and feeling about all of this. And there’s only so much we can do, but we wanted to make sure that we’re here to help each other, whether it is on the emotional safety or whether it’s on the financial challenges that people are facing in this unprecedented time.

We have also tried to improve the morale by instituting certain organization-wide activities, such as the active guardians award, where we realized that one of the most underrepresented or underappreciated segment of our healthcare for service nurses.

We have also actively worked on upskilling our nurses, looking at career progression opportunities. How is it that they can see what the long-term, other career goals, options that they can pursue to get engaged, to build up the morale, see what tomorrow will look like, different from what it has been today?

Sometimes, our horizons become very narrow and, as nurses, as doctors, as healthcare workers, everyone – we truly believe those who are in health care are there because of the noble cause that they believe in. And we make sure that as an organization, we support that in every way we can to keep the morale up and let them know how appreciated.”

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