Self-care for doctors in a COVID world

  • Link to COVID-19 SA Health regular updates here.
  • Coronavirus Health Information Phone Line is 1800 020 080.
  • Looking after your mental health Beyondblue resources here.
  • The psychological needs of health care workers as a result of Coronavirus pandemic - paper by British Psychological Society - download here.
  • South Australian Government COVID-19 website view here.
  • Visit your respective College website with details of webinars and other supports that may be useful as well. RANZCP has support for its members via this link here.
  • Pandemic Kindness website for all health workers view here.
  • Link to a range of other resources for health professionals on this link "Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) resources and links for health professionals" (regularly updated by SA Health).
  • Great podcast by Dr Sarah Newman from WA Doctors' Health Service about looking after yourself during this challenging COVID time -listen here.
  • Caring for people with COVID-19 - Supporting Australia’s healthcare professionals with continually updated, evidence-based clinical guidelines - view website here.
  • Frontliners supporting health care workers view website here.
  • COVID-19 specific supports:
    COVID-19 Testing - all details on SA Health website here - direct links to each health service:
    • Drive-Through Collection Centres - patients need a GP referral to access these services

Five Principles of Self-Care


  • Optimise your immune system by avoiding fatigue and sleep deprivation, alcohol and smoking.
  • Come to work fully rested and adequately hydrated.
  • Ensure your diet has plenty of fruit and vegetables and add a supplement of oral vitamin C (250mg) and zinc (25mg) on a daily basis. Eat modest amounts of really good food.
  • Walk, exercise to around 2.5 hours each week. Don’t overdo it and avoid it late in the evening.
  • Maintain your non-medical interests and pursuits when away from work. These are invigorating.


  • PPE is good for you. Doctors work in risky work environments. Use PPE.
  • Aim for best-practice at work - frequent handwashing and make full use of gloves and masks.
  • Insist on good signage and staff training at work to protect your key personnel at work.
  • Carry disposable gloves to wear when not at work such as when using public transport, shopping or public bathroom facilities. Avoid sick people when not at work.
  • Avoid stress emanating from COVID news overload and excessive exposure to early morning and late evening news.
  • Ensure you are fully immunised against influenza.


  • Remain well-informed, using a reliable single source of information
  • Maintain a calm and consistently positive manner, whilst leading by example with handwashing and using PPE.
  • Avoid endorsing unqualified sources of COVID information.
  • Do not go to work if unwell. Support colleagues who are unwell and are not at work.


  • Encourage your colleagues to consistently aim for best practice.
  • Role model for others, especially staff, students and patients.
  • Remind all staff and colleagues at every opportunity of the standard expected.

Pathway of care (for yourself or a colleague)

  • Seek the formal care from your own GP where possible. We encourage this strongly.

If you do not have your own GP, Doctors' Health SA offers the following alternatives if you are concerned

  • 24/7 phone advisory service (08) 8366 0250 to speak with an experienced colleague
  • After-hours assessment Clinic NOW ONLY DOING TELEHEALTH CONSULTS – link about clinic here.
  • Telemedicine consultations (08) 8232 1250 – details about that service here.
  • Access to a choice of special interest doctors’ health GPs across SA – list of some here.

Download a hard copy of this as a handout here.