This week Laura talks to Elizabeth, a trauma ICU nurse about the extreme lack of support for healthcare workers who are exposed to trauma, grief and loss day after day – for years – as they care for patients. Elizabeth shares the challenges of working within this trauma while also navigating her daily life and the world around her. Whether living with Post Traumatic Stress, a heightened startle reflex, panic attacks, or intentionally distancing from their own loved ones for the benefit of public health, she describes the fracturing impact of all that is unfolding. Laura shares about her own years working in a level one Trauma Center and emphasizes how reconciling daily workplace exposure cannot be about self care, but instead must come from changes in healthcare systems and structures.
Through their conversation, they offer us strategies to sustain ourselves during our own challenges, with humor and an abiding sense of humanity.
Elizabeth is a trauma ICU nurse who has worked in hospitals across the US for over 10 years. She has spent much of that time working alongside patients who have endured trauma, and contending with the challenges of making hospitals more sustainable and supportive for staff.