News Headlines Article

As health workers deal with mass shootings and fires, more hospitals are looking to help them cope
The Los Angeles Times

The tragedies that play out in hospitals affect not just patients and their families, but the nurses and doctors who care for them.

In one day, a hospital staff could treat a child gravely injured in a car accident, lose a patient to a terminal illness and comfort a family member whose loved one is in surgery.

Healthcare workers develop a sort of emotional armor, but it can wear thin. Many say they need space to decompress after regularly witnessing the most devastating moments of people’s lives.

“If we carried every single one of these deaths with us, we wouldn’t even be walking anymore,” said Darlene Warren, a nurse at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange. “You have to get rid of it.”

Hospital administrators nationwide are increasingly recognizing the toll of health workers’ day-to-day duties and the risk of burnout and symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder. The problem has been garnering more attention amid recent mass shootings and destructive fires.