Primary drivers and psychological manifestations of stress in frontline healthcare workforce during the initial COVID-19 outbreak in the United States

Allison A. Norful, Adam Rosenfeld, Krista Schroeder, Jasmine L. Travers, Sainfer Aliyu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: The purpose of this study was to understand the physical and psychological impact of high stress clinical environments and contributory factors of burnout in multidisciplinary healthcare workforce during the initial outbreak of COVID-19. Method: In-person qualitative interviews informed by an adaptation of Karasek's Job Demand-control model were conducted with a convenience sample of healthcare workforce from March to April 2020. Results: Themes emerging from interviews coalesced around three main areas: fear of uncertainty, physical and psychological manifestations of stress, and resilience building. Shifting information, a lack of PPE, and fear of infecting others prompted worry for those working with Covid-infected patients. Participants reported that stress manifested more psychologically than physically. Individualized stress mitigation efforts, social media and organizational transparency were reported by healthcare workers to be effective against rising stressors. Conclusion: COVID-19 has presented healthcare workforce with unprecedented challenges in their work environment. With attention to understanding stressors and supporting clinicians during healthcare emergencies, more research is necessary in order to effectively promote healthcare workforce well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-26
Number of pages7
JournalGeneral Hospital Psychiatry
Volume69
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021

Keywords

  • Burnout
  • COVID-19
  • Healthcare workforce
  • Qualitative research
  • Resilience
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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