By Athol Hann – Emergency Nurse & Founder of Fwards

emergency nurse

An AUSMED Australia and The Nurse Break collaboration brings you this scrolling feed of stories from those on the frontline of the health service!  Want to be featured here? GO HERE to learn more. See Ausmed’s feed here

For many years now Australians have referred to our home as the lucky country. During the current pandemic, I have truly come to understand and appreciate this sentiment. Our natural borders and swift control measures have (so far) saved our bacon, and as an Emergency Nurse, I’m truly grateful and proud to live and work in this country. We have avoided the worst of this contagious and deadly virus to date, and our healthcare systems have remained fully functional. Yet for many healthcare professionals the question remains; when will our turn come, and just how bad is it going to be?

Even if we haven’t yet been inundated with its physical presence, the ‘rona feels like an all-consuming beast. It’s there when I arrive at work, it’s there for every patient assessment, and it’s there as I head home past the “STOP if you have a fever” signs. Then when I get home, I’m reminded once again. The ‘rona is on the news, in the supermarkets and even in the family zoom. COVID-19 isn’t just impacting our physical resources, it’s consuming our mental and emotional energy as well. And while in Australia we’ve been lucky enough to avoid the real physical battle so far, you could say that our minds have already been facing the very real mental battle. I know that I at least certainly feel this way.

As nurses, we often feel an all-consuming responsibility to continue to push harder in times of need, to serve not only our patients but also our families and wider communities as well. Although we know the physical and mental impacts that constant stress can have on our mind and body, we feel an innate responsibility to carry on. We often only think about looking after ourselves at the end of a shift or on days off, but unfortunately, the current situation is making this harder and harder to manage. It’s hard to get space from the pressures of work when the noise of the coronavirus is loud and constant. It’s hard to escape something that’s engulfing and consuming the world’s attention.

As someone who’s experienced burnout before, I’ve noticed these pressures building and have actively decided to focus on how I’m travelling. Through meditation, journaling, exercise and the odd online house party I have been able to remain connected and grateful for our current good fortunes. I know that taking this time out is important to look after myself so that I can be better prepared when I’m most needed. I’m doing everything I can to ensure that when the ‘rona’ finally comes knocking I have the physical and mental strength to front up against her/his effects.

For some simple tips on how to look after yourself check out fwards on Facebook or at