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Sharp Health News

Health care workers need to care for themselves too

Jan. 20, 2021

Kailan Miller is an ER nurse at Sharp Memorial Hospital. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she started a podcast focused on the mental health needs of health care workers.

Kailan Miller is an ER nurse at Sharp Memorial Hospital. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she started a podcast focused on the mental health needs of health care workers.

“The Anxious RN.” That’s how Kailan Miller describes herself some days during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s also the name of her new podcast.

As an emergency room nurse at Sharp Memorial Hospital, Kailan sees firsthand how her fellow health care workers experience the continuous mental and physical burnout of caring for patients with COVID-19. It left her wanting to do more for her co-workers.

“A lot of us in the hospital thought the virus would be gone by August,” says Kailan. “But here we are in January. I see and talk to my fellow colleagues who are feeling anxious about bringing the virus home or getting it in general.”

She too has felt symptoms of anxiety and depression due to the pandemic. Along with daily burnout, she and her now-husband had to cancel their wedding, opting instead for a small ceremony last May.

“Like so many, my cup feels empty at times,” says Kailan. “I feel the need to fill it and motivate some self-care. As caregivers, we get this guilt about caring for ourselves because our job is to take care of others.”

She began looking for mental health resources and searched for podcasts that featured health care workers who were also struggling. She didn’t find many.

Kailan researched how to start her own podcast, then launched the first one-hour episode of “The Anxious RN” in October from her home. Her goal is to post a weekly episode to open up the conversation about mental health in the health care setting to help others know that their feelings are valid. Her episodes include interviews with therapists, physician assistants and nurses, who talk about their experiences during the pandemic. To date, the episodes have been downloaded more than 1,500 times.

“If I can help even one person, my job is done,” says Kailan.

Since the podcast launched, Kailan has received positive feedback from her listeners, thanking her for talking about the struggles of health care workers.

She says she returns the thanks to her guests and listeners because she has also found the podcast to be therapeutic.

“I’ve found new ways to improve my own mental health,” says Kailan. “I love hearing that I’m not alone.”

The Anxious RN podcast is available on Spotify and iTunes.

Talk to your doctor if you or a loved one is experiencing excessive sadness, anxiety or worry for an extended period, such that it is increasingly challenging to maintain daily activities or leave home. Learn about mental health services at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital and read important COVID-19 information from Sharp.

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