“I am extremely worried about the long-term effects the pandemic will have on healthcare professionals, including myself. I fear that there may be a shortage of professionals in the next 3-5 years because of burnout and the trauma of working in such an intense environment for a sustained period of time.”
Tifflan, Ohio – February, 2021
My name is Crystal Mathias and I am the Director of Nursing at the Volunteers of America Autumnwood Care Center, a senior living and senior care center. We provide extended care, memory care, short-term rehabilitation and everything in between for seniors. I have worked for Volunteers of America since I was 15 years old. Being too young to take the state tested nursing course, I passed ice and linen until I was of age to take the course offered by Volunteers of America. Due to my hands-on experience with VOA, I went on to nursing school at 18 to earn my LPN degree. Since then, I have furthered education as an RN. Through my passion for elders, education, our dedicated work family, and experience that Volunteers of America provided me, allowed me to serve in my current role as the director of nursing.
I am extremely loyal to VOA and to my work family. My mission is to serve God through my work and lift up my colleagues and the residents I work with and help care for. It is by remembering the mission that I was able to cope over the past 10 months during the pandemic.
I have faith in God and coming to work is my reward. Autumnwood Care Center is one of Volunteer’s of America’s older facilities and it serves some of the most vulnerable people in this Ohio community. I know that I’m needed and I feel a responsibility as well as.
During one week this fall, our most challenging weeks consisted of 29 residents and 14 staff me
mbers had tested positive for COVID-19. Not only did I have to fulfill my regular duties as the director of nursing but I was also cleaning rooms, changing sheets, and assisting with food service and wherever I was needed. We were so short handed I helped everywhere I could. It was exhausting but necessary. Because of the amazing team I work with, this was made possible. We took resilience to a completely new level.
I am extremely worried about the long-term effects the pandemic will have on healthcare professionals, including myself. I fear that there may be a shortage of professionals in the next 3-5 years because of burnout and the trauma of working in such an intense environment for a sustained period of time. The stress and worry combined with the needs of the residents is definitely taking a toll.