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Living through the COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives. One of the better changes we have all been forced to make is gaining a better appreciation for healthcare workers. They are our main defence against COVID-19

We spoke to Nomathemba Diniso as part of the Dove Courage is Beautiful campaign in support of healthcare workers, about her experience on the frontline.

Related:How to manage stress, anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic

Bravery is not the absence of fear

Although many people may think the years of training, experience and coming face to face with COVID-19 and its consequences may have dulled the fear of healthcare workers, Nomathemba says this is not true.

Although Nomathemba arrives for her shifts daily, she says she is still very much afraid.

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“The biggest misconception people have is that, because we work with so many COVID-19 positive patients, we have become desensitised to its effects. The truth is that dealing with COVID-19 doesn’t get easier. Each patient presents a unique case with its own set of challenges,” says Nomathemba.

Putting others first every day

Reading about the increasing need for healthcare, the high number of patients in hospitals and the added strain on the healthcare system, says nothing of the added strain put on the men and women who are the healthcare system in action.

Nomathemba says finding time to pamper herself regularly has never been easy, but it was possible before the pandemic. However, right now it is impossible to hold on to her self care rituals.

“To be honest self care used to be a priority for me. Before this pandemic, even with my busy work schedule, I was able to set aside time to pamper and take care of myself but this has since changed. My working hours have increased and so has the workload, making it almost impossible for me to take the time to self care. The little time I do have is to care for my family and where possible, rest,” she says.

Related: Lockdown: SA depression group receives high number of distress calls

Who takes care of the healthcare workers who take care of us?

The emotional and psychological toll of living through a global pandemic is impossible to ignore. People around the world are suffering the psychological effects of COVID-19 and among them are the healthcare workers we all lean on for medical care.

As a civilian, it’s hard to understand and find ways to support the people who face what we all fear, head-on every day.

“I have my family who support me where they can, but this does become challenging because they can’t always fully understand or relate to my experiences,” says Nomathemba

“Having an initiative such as the Dove #CourageisBeautiful campaign makes me feel hopeful we as healthcare workers now have an additional support system that is focused on our mental health. This initiative provides 24/7 care-on-call with professional ICAS psychologists,” she adds.

Related: COVID-19: Chat to experts about anxiety and depression during lockdown

Why Nomathemba still has hope

While many people have taken a fatalistic approach to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nomathemba is still hopeful.

“What gives me hope is knowing that we have a dedicated team of healthcare workers, medical scientists and a government that is working with us around the clock to find a cure/vaccine for COVID-19. It also brings me great joy to be able to see patients who have walked-in on the brink of death, recover and leave the hospital in a better health condition,” she says.

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.