How to deal with staff anxiety over COVID?
Even though the pandemic is at very low levels in Australia, and the risk to individuals is low, it’s understandable that staff might be anxious about the risk of infection.
Here are some dos and don’ts about helping staff through uncertain times.
One is to acknowledge that their anxiety is real and you take it seriously and perhaps share some of it yourself.
Here are some points you might find useful.
People’s fear arises from uncertainty. In some states there is still virus circulating and it’s true that people with no symptoms (asymptomatic) spread the infection and when there are no symptoms, there’s no way of knowing who might be carrying the COVID-19 virus.
Communication which acknowledges and validates their feelings but which then moves them on to understand that the real risks are low, should help. It is important though to recognise when a staff member might be suffering from a level of anxiety which is affecting their work and life. That requires support and the offer of assistance.
Some facts which might aid the conversation are:
- The COVID-19 virus needs a group of people who are together in close proximity for extended periods of time e.g. families at home and events like funerals and weddings. Social distancing in waiting rooms for the average waiting time of 30 minutes is almost certainly low risk.
- That is reinforced by the fact that there is very little COVID-19 circulating.
- Your practice disinfects surfaces regularly, provides hand sanitiser, avoids symptomatic people coming to see the doctor and has a policy on masks should staff wish to wear one.
Last Reviewed: 09/06/2020