Nóra Bese, communication director of the Bethesda Children’s Hospital gave a phone interview during home quarantine. ‘During spring, the whole country applauded the nurses and doctors in the evenings, sticking paper hearts on their windows to express their acknowledgment and gratitude. Now it is not rare that they are shouting at us (even in the Bethesda Hospital of the Reformed Church in Hungary), when we ask them to follow the strict pandemic regulations.
You asked for their patience on social media not too long ago. Why did you turn to the public?
People adhered to the rules in the spring, but nowadays not really. Tension and uncertainty are escalating and sadly we even experience aggression sometimes. We noticed in the comments of our Facebook page first, that people started taking out their frustration on health care. Comments denying Pandemic in derogative tones are increasing too, and it happens more and more in the hospitals that our colleagues are assaulted verbally. This is really hard to deal with, because they are working very hard the same way they did during the spring.
Are people shouting at nurses and doctors?
This happens too, especially during the medical triage when they first meet with the parents and the sick children and give them directions as to where to wait, measure their body temperature and ask them to wear their mask. They often hear them saying that there’s no virus. I understand that the parents are flustered but this kind of behaviour cannot be tolerated in our hospital. Many of them don’t understand that we do all this for the sake of their children, in order to prevent the virus from spreading.
What do the parents resent?
What they resent the most is that the both of them can’t be present with the child. There’s a visit ban in the Bethesda Hospital again and we introduced a rule that only one parent can stay with the child and they are not allowed to switch. It applies to the ambulance room too. Our nurses and doctors were wearing a mask often even without a virus and it wasn’t pleasant to them either, but they wore it anyway for the sake of safety. None of them suffered any health complications or lack of oxygen. The news are fake: masks won’t cause any damage to health.
How do your colleagues deal with this situation?
It is very hard for them, because there’s a huge difference compared to spring, when the hospital was surrounded by love, and it gave them a huge inspiration. It is really hard to live through this situation after all this previous support. More and more people blame health care while also our colleagues are getting tired and we have to do the work of those who are sick or met with an infected person.
Comparing to the first wave, how does Coronavirus infections affect your colleagues?
It affects them much more. There was only one doctor who got infected in the spring, but now it is very rare to have anybody without a positive case among their family members or acquaintances. It is becoming quite frequent that colleagues have to stay in quarantine, because they were in a close contact with positively tested people and I myself am giving this interview from home quarantine.
Do you hope for a change in the parents’ behaviour?
We would like parents to be more empathetic and insightful by adhering to the rules, because the pandemic situation will be even harder. Everybody should look beyond their own personal situation, because this is the only way for us to treat their children in a safe way.
Bethesda became the family-friendly hospital of the year
‘We couldn’t have received this prestigious recognition at a better time’, says the communication leader. ‘This is the crowning of our many years of work since our relationship with the families during healing is a priority. As a family-friendly employer, we do everything we can to provide real help to our colleagues to solve any problems they might have at home.’