Frontline clinician concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic: A qualitative inquiry

Rachel Vanderkruik, Helen R. Mizrach, Sydney Crute, Cayley C. Bliss, Louisa G. Sylvia, Lara Traeger, Daniel L. Hall, Christina M. Luberto, Joanna M. Streck, Amelia M. Stanton, Nevita George, Sara E. Looby, Darshan H. Mehta, Gregory L. Fricchione, Elyse R. Park


Objective: The COVID-19 pandemic has strained healthcare systems worldwide, placing a high psychological burden on frontline clinicians. There is an urgent need to better understand their stressors and determine if stressors differ by clinical role. The present study assessed the concerns among frontline clinicians across a large healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic to inform the development of tailored supportive services.
Methods: From March – June 2020, frontline clinicians across the Mass General Brigham healthcare system were invited to register for an adapted mind-body resiliency group program. Clinicians completed pre- and post-program assessments asking them to report their COVID-19-related concerns. Qualitative data were analyzed in aggregate and by clinical role using content analysis to identify overarching domains.
Results: Frontline clinicians’ concerns fall within seven domains: concerns for self, patients, family members, staff, existential concerns, systems-level concerns, and job-level concerns. Concerns for self and existential concerns were most commonly reported across clinical roles. Long-term care clinicians were highly concerned about patients’ wellbeing while rehabilitation therapists were highly concerned about their family members’ health. Across groups, nurse practitioners and physician assistants more often reported job-level concerns. Concerns for staff and systems level concerns were less frequently reported across clinical roles.
Conclusions: Frontline clinicians share common pandemic-related concerns, but nuances exist among the concerns most frequently reported across clinical roles. Interventions that offer stress management and resiliency training may be helpful for addressing pandemic-related concerns overall. Future research should determine if tailored support services by clinical role may be warranted.

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Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

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