The Melbourne â€˜Heart-Centered Doctorâ€™ said a recent Washington Post article reported that 30% of healthcare workers were burned out by the pandemic and they were considering leaving the profession.
â€œAfter a year of trauma, doctors, nurses and other health workers are struggling to cope and we are all fatigued,â€ Dr Ong said.
â€œWith more than half a year of lockdown in Melbourne and similar situations worldwide, people are burnt out from pandemic fatigue which is leading to many physical and mental health conditions.â€
She said pandemic fatigue, burnout and stress syndrome in frontline health care workers was coming from an increase in patients from the pandemic, particularly the Intensive Care Units (ICU) and emergency department workers.
â€œMany doctors and nurses need mental health support but they are very reluctant to seek help due to the stigma around it,â€ she said.
Dr Ong said Pandemic Fatigue was leading to fear/ anxiety; morbidity/ mortality risk; isolation/ loneliness; relationship/ family issues; financial/ uncertainty; moral injury and risk of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
She knows full well what burnout and fatigue is like after a severe car accident in 2008 when she was told she would never walk again as a paraplegic.
â€œI began walking two years later, am about to write my second book and run programs helping doctors transform their lives from burnout to brilliance,â€ she said.
The medical leadership mentor and pain physician has developed a 7-step Heart-Centred Method which includes mind, heart, body and external self care strategies for burnout prevention and recovery.
â€œWe need to acknowledge that frontline healthcare workers need more mental health support from politicians, hospitals and medical associations,â€ she said.
â€œThis needs to be a legislation and an act to be passed, like the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act in the US.â€
Dr Ong will host a free webinar, called From Burnout to Brilliance, on September 16 at 7.30pm AEST on burnout. Her first book is The Heart-Centeredness of Medicine, which Jack Canfield wrote the foreword for.
Her second book Quantum Leap your Life: The 12 keys to go from burnout to joy, fulfillment & balance is due out in early 2022.
She sees more than 1000 patients each year in Melbourne, has been married to her husband for 15 years and has two children, a son aged 6 and daughter, aged 1.