HAMPTON, Va. — Healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic are reporting burnout, with some saying that it's been like "being at war" for 18 months straight and worrying about the toll it's taking on their mental health.
News 3 spoke with Dr. Crystal Crewe, who works at Legacy Lab Services in Williamsburg. She told us she's also working in Hampton to continue her mission to keep families healthy.
She said sometimes she doesn’t even realize that she is experiencing burnout.
"At the end of the day, I am pretty exhausted, but I feel like the benefit outweighs the risk of being exhausted for me," she said.
Crewe said she's always on the move, but giving back to the community is all worth it.
"I did a whole dissertation on my doctorate about burnout and taking care of ourselves, and I really need to start practicing some of those things," Crewe said.
Burnout has three components, according to health leaders: Emotional exhaustion, reduced personal efficacy and depersonalization.
Sadly, Crewe is not alone.
Shanea Brown, a registered pharmacist, said, "Yeah, I'm tired. I have weekends off from my primary job, but I'm going out there and I'm out there at 8 a.m. I'm on my feet for 10-hour clinics, 7-hour clinics, bringing a big tote and vaccinating people."
Brown said for her, an average workday administering shots can be between 10 and 12 hours.
Health leaders said it's very important to know when to step back if you're feeling burnout because mistakes can happen.
"Everything is a process, so when you start going to autopilot and you're just going and going, that can be a potential sign of burnout," Brown said.
But the common theme between Crewe and Brown is that they push through for kids like 9-year-old Kaiden, who recently got his first vaccine shot.
"I just wanna let the kids know it's not going to hurt, and then when you're done with it you can go back to what you were doing. You won't get sick," Kaiden said.
As health leaders continue to protect people like Kaiden, Crewe and Brown both said having a safe haven keeps them grounded and remembering why they chose this career.
Although health leaders said this has been an ongoing struggle, Crewe tells me will she will stay focused and continue to administer shots at Six Mount Zion Baptist Temple, giving shots to those who want and need them.