Riding the wave
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, we are still experiencing the effects and after-effects of COVID-19 in the clinic and beyond.
Private practices are reporting the financial burden of patients cancelling due to sickness (including COVID-19), being close contacts or family care priorities.
This is compounded when clinical and administrative staff are unable to work for the same reasons.
Then there are the extra costs of personal protective equipment, cleaning routines, COVID-19 plans and reduced capacity, all of which have driven profit margins to neutral or below for the past financial year.
Coming into 2022, with case numbers reducing, mass vaccination, the spread of COVID-19 settling and travel increasing, we all thought that we could see the normal parts of our lives returning.
However, that is not the case and with new variants of COVID-19 and rising infections, it appears that we may be riding this wave for some time to come.
The public sector, community care, aged care and universities are feeling the same effects, with increasing infection rates, continued staff leave, patient cancellations and service delivery disruptions.
In these stressful times, I am so proud to be a leader of a profession that continues to provide a high-quality essential service in a safe and effective manner.
We just get in and help our patients or students, doing the job to the best of our ability.
This is sometimes at the expense of our own wellbeing because we forget to or feel like we can’t take the leave or break that our bodies are craving.
If there is one thing that COVID-19 has taught me, it’s that you need to look after your own physical and mental health.
If we don’t do that, then our patients and colleagues will suffer with us.
I am seeing some colleagues just keeping their heads above water and surviving week by week.
I am still experiencing a personal burden of long COVID and have changed my behaviour to ensure that my health is looked after.
This has not been an easy task because we are used to looking after our patients and not ourselves.
I urge everyone to take a break over the coming months, to catch up with a close friend for a weekend or spend some quality time away from work with family or a loved one.
Just make sure that you get away from work, the stressors, the environment and the emails.
This has been the toughest time in our professional careers in terms of uncertainty, changing environments, restrictive travel and social gatherings and not being able to do what we take for granted.
So stop, recharge and take some time for yourself to fill the batteries up again for the rest of the year.
I look forward to seeing you all in Melbourne for the FOCUS 2022 conference, where finally, after three years, we can come together as a profession and learn, listen, wind down and reconnect with colleagues, friends and the physiotherapy family.
I will be waiting on 30 September with a big smile and open arms to welcome you all to this amazing event.
I suspect that this conference will be the best one to date and you don’t want to miss the famous conference dinner.
Take care, stay safe.
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