In an essay for The Washington Post, Philadelphia pediatrician Dorothy R. Novick, MD, describes how sometimes even well-meaning words may increase a healthcare worker’s anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ring Theory works for supporting health-care providers during the trauma of covid-19. We are grappling with a complex duality of mission plus terror. We are proud of what we can contribute and passionate about our patients’ well-being. But we are frightened — for our safety, for our patients, for the spouses and children we might expose.

I may want to tell my ER friends how scared I feel for them. But as close as I am to the battleground, they are closer. So instead I say, “If you take no risks, you will stay safe. I am here for you, every step of the way.”

Read more from The Washington Post.