Episode 11: Allison Nichols on COVID-19 and Hospital Emergency Room Social work

Allison is a licensed Medical Social Worker currently working in the emergency room of a major hospital in Chicago. She sheds some light on the impact of COVID-19 on her practice.

The lack of widespread screening means the coronavirus may well be present in countless hospital wards without anyone realizing it. Accordingly, many emergency-room workers are now behaving as if they’re already infected and separating from their families. One ER doctor said he has been sleeping in the guest bedroom for weeks. Other doctors have sent their families off to stay at second homes. The majority of workers who keep America’s hospitals running don’t have the salary to afford extra bedrooms, much less extra properties. For technicians, respiratory therapists, social workers, chaplains, first responders, cleaning staff, and many others, doing their job is an act of moral complexity. Without enough PPE, they’re putting their own health at risk every time they report for duty, as well as that of their families. With that we say, thank you for your service!

Hospice Chaplaincy is a nonprofit organization committed to promoting excellence in spiritual care at the end of life. We are committed to the belief that people from all backgrounds, cultures and faith traditions should experience the end of life in a way that matches their own spiritual/religious values and goals. The task of dying is complicated and often confronts us with lots of spiritual, emotional and physical suffering. Hospice Chaplaincy is dedicated to providing support and professional development resources for hospice chaplains, patient advocacy, and education services to the public, to create a cultural shift to inform and transform our thinking around the psychosocial and psychospiritual issues at the end of life .

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