Study researcher says essential workers aren’t invincible, ‘really need our support’

Study researcher says essential workers aren’t invincible, ‘really need our support’
Female surgeon looking fatigue after surgery. Photo credit Georgiy Datsenko/ Getty Images

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) – Researchers from two local universities said it might be a bad idea to think of first responders, medical staff and other essential workers as "heroes" for what they're doing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bethany Cockburn, an assistant professor of business management at Northern Illinois University, who along with researchers from the University of Illinois Chicago, looked at how people think of essential workers when they consider them heroes.

"When we call people heroes, we think of heroes as invincible and they could do it by themselves. But these people are heroes not superheroes. They really need our support and our help," Cockburn said.

Cockburn said that can lead to essential workers not getting the support they need from their managers or from the people they help.

She said more needs to be done to ensure that essential workers can do their job safely, as well as cope with the challenges they face to both their physical and mental well being.