COVID-19’s Impact on the Medical Field and Its Professionals

Dr. Casie Wiley at work in her PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo courtesy of Casie Wiley

Dr. Casie Wiley at work in her PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the healthcare industry, there has been a lot that has changed due to COVID-19. There are many ways in which this virus has impacted the field of medicine and medical workers themselves. Many outside this field likely have not paid attention possibly because they were busy trying to get by themselves during a pandemic.

Hospitals have filled with people who are sick and with those who have infected medical workers. Medical staff have been overworked, and some people have even quit as a result.

Casie Wiley, a family doctor, talked about the stress and the effects COVID-19 has had on her. “I can’t afford to get COVID myself because I need to work. We’re short staffed. If I don’t work, then that’s going to be really hard in my office and hard on my partners,” said Wiley. Hospitals being short staffed has been a recurring issue.  “Hospitals face staffing ‘domino effect’ from the coronavirus outbreak,” said PA Consulting advisor Chris Pance, in an interview with Healthcare Financial Management Association ( “So, if everybody is staffing up at the same time, those pools don’t cover everybody,” added Pance. This past year during the holidays, many hospitals were so short staffed that not many medical workers were able to see their families. In addition, many of these hospital workers did not want to get their family sick since they were working with COVID-19 patients. “It’s all about kind of staying away from people, which is really hard. You have a stressful day at work, and you want to be surrounded by your loved ones, by your family and friends. Knowing that could cause more stress is a really [bad] feeling. It was really hard last winter because it was the holidays, so from Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year’s, I worked all of [the holidays], and I didn’t get to see family at all. I didn’t see my parents. I didn’t see [my husband’s] parents. We were just by ourselves,” said Wiley.

Casie Wiley shares a photo of herself from medical school. (Photo courtesy of Casie Wiley)

COVID-19 bought about new restrictions for hospitals and their visitors. For instance, many fathers were not allowed to see their babies being born. Debbie Debora, a nurse at Beach Pediatrics, discussed what she saw when it came to families with newborn babies. Debora commented, “With COVID, the parents were actually giving birth then coming out and coming to us. It was only one parent at a time allowed.”

Lastly, there were issues for medical professionals revolving around death in connection with COVID-19. Both Wiley and Debora spoke about this. “I wasn’t ready for people to get it and be in the hospital. I had a few people who passed from COVID, so it was just devastating to me about this whole thing. I’m ready for it to be over,” said Debora. “Talking to family members when COVID patients are in the hospital [is difficult]. A lot of the times, their family can’t come see them, especially if they are really sick with COVID. It’s awful because [patients] feel like they can’t breathe, and that’s a really terrible feeling. It can go on for weeks at a time. So, talking to family and keeping family updated is something really hard. You get to know these families; you feel these personal responsibilities, this personal connection. In the cases where their family members die, I have to be the one to tell them that. I have to tell them, and sometimes it’s really young people [who have died],” said Wiley.

COVID-19 has impacted the way some medical professionals now view their field. “It has made my view of medicine probably more… I don’t like it as much is what I’m trying to say. I think that people used to trust doctors, and I was excited to be a member of somebody’s extended family almost. People would tell me their secrets and ask me for advice, and that felt really special. In the setting of the pandemic, I think that there is just so much doubt going on and so much misinformation going on that people don’t [trust us]. All I’m trying to do is help [patients], and I get a lot of pushback from people until they are in the hospital and really sick,” commented Wiley.