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Frontline Hero or Frontline Human?

Should we call frontline healthcare workers 'heroes'?


What's the problem with calling frontline healthcare 'heroes'?


A hero never tires.

A hero is not overworked.

A hero isn't fearful that they will transmit a deadly infectious to their granny.


The label of hero adds to the burnout many frontline healthcare workers are feeling.

And what's the problem with the term 'burnout'? It places the fault on the individual healthcare worker's flaws (bottom-up), rather than on the underlying health system failures (top-down).

Frontline healthcare workers are already highly resilient workers due to the nature of their training and their tough working conditions. However, they feel overworked due to inadequacies in the health system. They are plagued with moral injury when they can't deliver the best possible patient care due to constrained resources - especially during a peak of a COVID wave. These factors could lead to physical and mental health challenges resulting in so-called "burnout". Frontline healthcare workers are told to 'build their resilience' in order to cope better. But would adding a little resilience really solve the failures of the health system?


What are your thoughts? Should we call frontline healthcare workers 'heroes'?

What support should we be giving them? Let me know in the comments.

In this episode of the BTF podcast, we unpack some of the challenges facing frontline healthcare workers since the pandemic. My special guest is Dr Precious Chikura. Precious junior doctor currently completing her community service. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Precious started an NGO called the 'Frontline Refuge' that provides free mental healthcare services for healthcare workers. She is passionate about improving health care outcomes for women and children and empowering communities to be self-determined via healthcare and business. Please remember to rate and subscribe wherever you enjoy your podcasts. I look forward to your comments and reviews and you are welcome to send me a voice note using the links below to be featured in future episodes.

Together, let's figure out how to change the world.


Watch the promo on IGTV -


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