Year : 2020 | Volume
: 36 | Issue : 5 | Page : 1--2
Staying afloat and reaching the shore in COVID sea
Honorary Secretary (Officiating), Research Society of Anaesthesiology Clinical Pharmacology, Professor Anaesthesiology, In Charge Pain Management Centre, PGIMS, Rohtak, Haryana, India
Dr. Naveen Malhotra
Professor Anaesthesiology, In Charge Pain Management Centre, PGIMS, Rohtak, Haryana
|How to cite this article:|
Malhotra N. Staying afloat and reaching the shore in COVID sea.J Anaesthesiol Clin Pharmacol 2020;36:1-2
|How to cite this URL:|
Malhotra N. Staying afloat and reaching the shore in COVID sea. J Anaesthesiol Clin Pharmacol [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Sep 27 ];36:1-2
Available from: http://www.joacp.org/text.asp?2020/36/5/1/292332
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID 19) is not “just a pandemic” anymore. It has become a way of life, for the near future at least. We all are at the helm of this global illness and our life has turned upside down. We are fighting to safety, continuity, and return to normalcy.
The first impact of the COVID pandemic was the postponement of the 30th Annual Conference of Research Society of Anaesthesiology Clinical Pharmacology (RSACPCON 2020), scheduled to be held from 20 to 22 March at Chennai, India. It proved to be a correct decision as the nation had Janta Curfew and complete lockdown around that time. However, the competitions for postgraduates could not be conducted depriving them of an opportunity to win medals and prizes. The takeover by new office bearers of Research Society of Anaesthesiology Clinical Pharmacology (RSACP) has also been delayed. The online academic activities under the banner of RSACP have started and it is being worked out how to keep the things moving in the pandemic at all fronts of the activities of the association-webinars, online workshops, online poster/paper competitions, online annual general body meeting, etc. However, it shall be ensured that these are spread out and there is no flooding of online activities. We are also working on conducting 30th RSACPCON as early as possible in 2021.
The effects of the pandemic are apparent in the hospitals, too. The intensive care units are full but outpatient departments (OPD) are deserted. The Pain Clinic OPD rush, now I feel, used to make me feel alive. But with restrictions on travel and fear to go to those hospitals, which have COVID blocks, patients feel discouraged to walk into the OPD. The pandemic may have adversely affected some of the patients as they have neither followed up in the OPD and nor telephonically. In some hospitals, the practice of telemedicine has slowly risen. Patients and doctors, miles apart, meet online and discuss health problems. But the human touch may be missing in electronic communication, and there is no substitute for a face-to-face meeting of doctor and patient and physical examination.
Postgraduate students are around but classrooms are empty, courtesy physical distancing, and COVID duties. After the initial enthusiasm, attendance in online classes for postgraduates is slowly dwindling. It is rightly said that you can't teach clinical sciences without clinical training. Having to guide and lead an army of these young postgraduate foot soldiers is a challenge in itself. For instance, if one student gets exposed to a COVID-positive patient, it becomes our responsibility to counsel the student. He/she is frightened, afraid, confused about the quarantine, and being in isolation. Each student requires 15–30 min to listen to them, explain to them, and motivate them. Their anxiety is justified and you have to keep all work aside and focus on obviating the struggles of the residents at the frontline. Our anesthesiology postgraduates are at the forefront of the COVID clinical duties and are doing exemplary work, in COVID critical care units, triage, wards, etc., They are ably supported and guided by the senior faculty.
The increase in postgraduates' seats in anesthesiology has proved to be a boon in this pandemic. The trained manpower, our frontline COVID warriors, with exceptional skills in critical care has served humanity with full sincerity and dedication.
The worst part of this pandemic is that there is no cure found yet. New guidelines come daily and you feel buried under them. The process of unlearning and relearning is exhausting. It is a new disease and we have to keep ourselves updated to prevent any negligence. Patients are well informed technologically and we have to be even more advanced and updated in our approach toward this illness. However, three things that have been established with proven efficacy are: wearing a face mask, maintaining physical distancing, and hand hygiene. We all should follow these new rules of life strictly and also ensure those around us follow the same.
Another important concern in this pandemic is preparedness. The administrative duties, preparing specifications and purchase committee meetings take a toll by itself. To remain clean and honest should be the utmost priority, but at the same time should not slow the preparedness. The administrative role apart from a clinician's job is stressful. I often wonder about the work stress on the head of departments and administrators.
Added to the administrative duties is an important role as a teacher. Conducting postgraduate exit examinations during a pandemic is a challenge in itself. Ensuring COVID-negative patients or preparing virtual patient scenarios are necessary. Keeping the examiner as well as the examinees safe is a tough job. Students have to be motivated to read. Some students, being posted on the frontline (COVID ICU) could not attend classes and may not perform well in their examinations. Then there is a new pattern of examinations with virtual patients and online examiners. Isn't it our moral obligation to understand the student's mental condition and be a bit lenient!
All this time, you have to remain stoic and rejuvenate yourself in silence, and you can't complain to anyone. I am very sure that life shall be the same as before soon. We all should take the required precautions always. It is prayed that all of us and our near and dear ones remain healthy.