On March 30, we celebrate Doctors' Day. The celebration this year is special because we are saluting the care, dedication, and nimbleness displayed by physicians two years into the COVID-19 pandemic to provide the healthcare our community needed.
Dr. Candace Good, psychiatry, Mount Nittany Physician Group, and medical director of Mount Nittany Medical Center Behavioral Health Unit, has a special passion for caring for fellow physicians. She understands that for doctors to properly care for their patients, they have to also care for themselves physically and mentally.
This is why for the past year, Dr. Good has been caring for the mental health and wellness of Mount Nittany Health's medical staff by providing what she calls "wellness checks."
Doctors have the opportunity to check in with her confidentially for 30 minutes. "These check-ins give them a chance to talk about how things are going," she says. "Maybe they're not sure what next steps should be to keep themselves healthy, or they want to help family members get care, or they have a concern about a colleague." When appropriate, Dr. Good also connects these colleagues with community resources.
Dr. Good joined the medical staff in 2007 and has been providing staff check-ins ever since. However, the COVID-19 pandemic brought an increase in the number of physicians and allied health professionals seeking help regularly. "With COVID, this has become more important," she says.
"People are dealing with a lot of loss and difficult cases, and along with check-ins, I offer psychological debriefing. As medical providers, I think we're more likely to think about what we could have done differently medically but don't necessarily have time to process how this affects us as human beings. Over the past two years, a lot of people did not have the opportunity to grieve appropriately not only for people they lost, but also opportunities they lost or celebrations they couldn't take part in. It has affected all of us."
Dr. Good also shares that the pandemic has brought added challenges to inpatient care in the Behavioral Health Unit for patients who need behavioral health care but also have COVID-19. "We can't admit people with COVID to the specialized unit because the unit isn't designed to manage respiratory isolation. Thus, we have been managing people with mental health issues both in our unit and on the medical floor," she explains.
Additionally, she and her colleague, Dr. Erica Marden, consult with the emergency department and the medical floors about mental health issues that may arise with patients as they receive treatment for physical ailments.
Dr. Good exemplifies how Mount Nittany Health physicians have demonstrated nimbleness and agility throughout the pandemic by prioritizing quality, compassionate care across the spectrum of patient needs.
You can honor Dr. Good and her care for her colleagues or recognize your physician and care team this Doctors' Day by making a gift online at foundation.mountnittany.org. You'll be helping our physicians make a difference, one patient at a time.