Health Workforce Resilience

Information about pandemic risks to health care workers and strategies being used to protect them from COVID-19, prevent and address burnout, and support their well-being.

(05/10/2022) Nurse Faculty Provide Essential Support to Graduate Nursing Students During COVID-19 Pandemic
This study published in Nurse Leader discusses the possible strategies for graduate nursing students during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as applying live virtual simulation learning platforms to learn clinical skills and providing mental support and building good relationships and communications with students.

(05/16/2022) A National Study of Moral Distress Among US Internal Medicine Physicians During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The study published in PLOS ONE looked at the severity, determinants, and outcomes of moral distress in US internal medicine physicians during the pandemic. Based on a survey conducted during September and October 2022, this study finds “strong” correlations between high moral distress and negative mental health outcomes.

(05/16/2022) Hospital Groups Ask HHS to Expand COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
12 major US hospital groups are requesting The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) extend the public health emergency an additional 90 days past the July deadline. Although the COVID numbers are low right now in hospitals, extending the PHE would help make sure that hospitals and the health system are better prepared to treat patients during future pandemic surges.

(05/12/2022) Around the World, Nurses Say Meaningful Work Keeps Them Going
A new McKinsey survey evaluates the impact of COVID-19 on the nursing workforce, asking frontline nurses in different countries whether they plan to stay in their current jobs. Between 28 and 38 percent of the nurses surveyed, stated they were likely to leave their jobs in direct patient care in the next year. This accompanying article to the survey, examines the findings of the survey, but also lists possible ways employers could provide better support to nurses.

(05/09/2022) The Perceived Work Environment and Well-Being—a Survey of Emergency Healthcare Workers During the Covid-19 Pandemic
The study, published in Academic Emergency Medicine, surveyed 701 emergency medicine (EM) attending and resident physicians, EM nurses, and emergency medical service providers across 10 academic sites in the US to determine if there was a relationship between mental health and perceived work environment during a pandemic. The survey measured job stress, mental well-being, working conditions and organizational factors, participants’ demographics and job characteristics, and perceived handling of pandemic by external groups.

(05/05/22) COVID-19 Impact on the Nursing Workforce
Emory Healthcare’s Chief Nurse Executive Sharon Pappas and epidemiologist Jodie Guest discuss the impact of the pandemic on the nursing workforce in this video interview. They discuss strategies for nursing shortages and how to ensure patients access to care. This conversation is part of the online video series hosted by Guest discussing questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

(05/03/22) Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Hospital and Outpatient Clinician Workforce
This report from HHS Office of Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation which combines data from the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, spotlights how the COVID-19 pandemic has put “extreme stress on the healthcare workforce” in the US, leading to burnout, workforce shortages, and exhaustion and trauma. The report also looks at an overview of federal interventions during the pandemic to help support the healthcare workforce.

(05/03/22) New Report Reveals COVID’s Toll on the Mental Health of Frontline Doctors and Nurses
This All Things Considered NPR podcast discusses A new report by The Department of Health and Human Services which “reveals the depth of distress throughout the health care system.” The podcasts details how burnout, anxiety, and ptsd have taken a toll on health care workers during the pandemic.

(05/02/2022) Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Hawai‘i Nursing Workforce: A Cross-sectional Survey
This article published in PMC examines the the effect COVID-19 has had on the nursing workforce in Hawai’i. The authors did a cross-sectional online survey and found that nearly 20% of nurses considered leaving the workforce in late 2020. The main reason for leaving was an unsafe work environment, family/caregiving strain, and job fatigue. The results of this survey also indicate a potential nurse workforce shortage in Hawai’i.

(05/02/22) Putting Health Workers at the Centre of Health System Investments in COVID-19 and Beyond
Published in the Family Journal of Community Health this paper outlines recommendations for sustained health workforce development and optimization based on current health workforce research, policy, and lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic.

(5/1/2022) Healthcare Workers With Long COVID are Having Their Careers Cut Short Due to Debilitating Symptoms As the Industry Struggles With Labor Shortages
This article from Insider highlights three healthcare workers whose careers were harmed by long COVID. Long COVID may deter health care workers from reentering employment in the face of substantial labor shortages.

(04/29/2022) Healthcare Worker Trauma and Related Mental Health Outcomes During the COVID-19 Outbreak in New York City
This new study analyzed mental health problems among Healthcare workers at a public health hospital in New York City during the COVID-19 pandemic. They found that healthcare workers are more likely to experience Burnout, Moderate or High Secondary Traumatic Stress, and High Compassion Satisfaction than Coronavirus Anxiety, PTSD, and Coronavirus Obsession. Also, females have a higher and more significant probability to have PTSD than males. Moreover, healthcare workers under Burnout are more likely with a prior behavioral or emotional health problem. Healthcare workers who report high compassion satisfaction are more likely associated with caring for patients dying from COVI-19, low burnout, and low STS.

(04/29/22) Critical Care Nurse Burnout, Moral Distress, and Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A United States Survey
An article published in Family Medicine and Community Health (FMCH) studied 488 surveys of nurses who worked in intensive care units in the US during the Covid-19 pandemic between October 2020 and January 2021. The study found that workplace factors such as lack of PPE, excessive workloads, and perceived lack of administrative support were linked to higher risk of several types of mental distress and increased intent to leave practice.

(04/27/22) ‘Unsustainable’ Squeeze Grips US Hospitals on Covid Labor Cost
Healthcare wages have increased significantly during the pandemic because of the high demand for healthcare workers, especially in private hospitals. The increased wages for health care workers has led to profit loss in hospitals. Even as COVID hospitalizations have declined, hospitals are trying to find ways to “build a pipeline of workers and retain the ones they have.”

(04/22/22) Why Physician Well-being is a Two-way Street
A clinical psychologist spoke about warning signs for burnout among health professionals working through the COVID-19 pandemic in this article and video from the American Medical Association. The article outlines impact of burnout and strategies to address individual burnout among physicians.

(04/21/22) Healing the Wounded Healers
Physicians experience many barriers to getting needed care for mental health issues, with female physicians having significantly higher deaths from suicide compared to other professions. This article from Psychology Today examines issues like burnout and moral injury among health care workers, issues relevant in the current pandemic-era of health care.

(04/20/22) “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” Nurses’ Perspectives About Working During the Covid-19 Pandemic in the United States: A Summative Content Analysis Combined with Topic Modeling
This paper published in International Journal of Nursing Studies studied the perspective of the US nurses working in the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic ‘s first wave. They found that the retention rate of the nursing workforce can be used to measure the overall organizational performance. A good supportive organization usually performs well in following perspectives: communication, in-person contact quality with hospital administration, the frontline manager, the culture of the response as perceived by the nurse/midwife, and staff treatment during the first wave.

(04/20/22) Medical Workers Tend to Push Through Their Mental Health Trauma. COVID-19 is Changing That
This article from Gothamist highlights the long-standing issues of mental health trauma among health care workers, and how the COVID-19 pandemic is leading to systemic changes in the way this trauma is addressed.

(04/05/2022) Patterns of Potential Moral Injury in Post-9/11 Combat Veterans and COVID-19 Healthcare Workers
A study from the Journal of General Internal Medicine compared moral injury experienced by combat veterans after Sept. 11, 2001, and healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study found combat veterans and healthcare workers reported similar patterns of moral injury.

(03/28/22) Rulemaking Continues on New OSHA COVID-19 Permanent Standard to Protect Healthcare Workers
Nearing the conclusion of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) OVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards, OSHA is working to develop a permanent standard for protecting the health workforce from exposure to COVID-19.

(03/18/22) Bill to Help Health Care Workers Struggling With Mental Health Signed Into Law
President Biden signed the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act. The law, which was introduced in July 2020, will fund grants, in-depth investigations, and public awareness campaigns to help encourage reform in the healthcare sector, where burnout, addiction, and suicide have become prevalent. This bill was named in honor of Dr. Lorna Breen, who died by suicide during the COVID-19 pandemic while working as a doctor.

(03/16/22) Clinician of the Future: a 2022 Report
Thirty-one percent of clinicians in a new global study said they were considering leaving their current position by 2024, according to a report released in March by analytics firm Elsevier Health. Of the 31 percent of clinicians who were considering leaving their current role by 2024, 33 percent plan to stay in a similar role but switch to a different health care setting. Twenty-one percent plan to retire and 13 percent plan to move to another job unrelated to healthcare.

(03/15/22) High Housing Costs Preventing Some Workers From Taking Healthcare Jobs
In addition to health workforce shortages from workers experiencing emotional exhaustion, taking a traveling nursing job, or retiring early, the other factor leading to shortages is high housing costs, which is preventing some health workers from taking healthcare jobs. As a result, some hospitals are taking this issue seriously and are helping finance housing for their health workers.

(02/25/22) New Analysis Highlights the Changes in U.S. health Care Workforce During COVID-19 Pandemic
A new analysis from Indiana University, Rand Corp, and the University of Michigan spotlights the changes in the US health care workforce during the pandemic and finds that the average wages for US health care workers increased less than wages in other industries during 2020 and the first six months of 2021. The report was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Health Forum. Researchers said that their findings are vital for planning and responding to ongoing and future public health crises.

(02/28/2022) HHS to Distribute $560M in Phase 4 COVID-19 Provider Relief Funds
The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will distribute 560 million to 4,100 providers who faced revenue loss during the pandemic as part of the third batch of Phase 4 COVID-19 Provider Relief. The money will also help providers serving vulnerable populations.

(02/11/22) 5 Ways to Restore Depleted Health Care Workers
This article looks at various approaches to deal with burn out in the healthcare industry. Approaches include: make the most of extended teams, be a reliable advocate, lead with kindness, offer access to emotional support resources, and allow time for what matters. This “multi-pronged approach” can help the health care system deal with physical and emotional depletion, reduce burnout, and improve patient care.

(02/10/22) Health Care Workers Increasingly Think We’ve Passed the Worst of the Pandemic
A recent survey from Axios finds that just under half of health care workers believe the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic has already occurred. This writeup from The Morning Consult looks at how the attitudes of health care workers have changed throughout the pandemic, including how they feel about who they work with and where they work.

(02/09/22) A Tranquil Virtual Reality Experience to Reduce Subjective Stress Among COVID-19 Frontline Healthcare Workers
New research published in PLOS ONE studies the impact of a three-minute Tranquil Cinematic virtual reality simulation of a nature scene on health care workers on the frontlines treating COVID-19 patients. The researchers found that participants experienced immediate reductions in subjective stress following viewing the simulation.

(02/08/22) For Burned-out Health Workers, Exhaustion From COVID-19 Surges Mixes With a Sense of Betrayal
This article from STAT covers a recent event on burnout in the health workforce, featuring experts from Moral Injury of Healthcare, American Association of Critical Care Nurses, Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute, and University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Health care workers continue to experience high rates of burnout and need continued support to address staffing shortages, harassment, and protective equipment shortages.

(02/07/22) Health Workers Weighing Their Options
Many health care workers are considering other industries, including to a new Axios survey. 22% of health workers surveyed are considering leaving health care and 16 percent are considering a different health care role. Those health workers caring for COVID-19 patients are most likely to report wanting to leave the healthcare industry. Another survey found the percentage of health care workers who reported being stressed or experienced mental health issues has worsened during the pandemic.

(02/07/22) As COVID Persists, Healthcare Worker Mental Health Must Be Prioritized
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, nurse practitioners and other health care personnel have been under great stress while trying to treat patients. Kapu, president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), highlights the significance of having mental health services easily available to healthcare professionals so that they may use them, as well as healthcare workers being proactive in seeking assistance and decompressing from their job.

(02/06/22) Factors Associated With Depression and Anxiety Symptoms Among US Physicians During the First Phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic
This new study examines the effect the COVID-19 global pandemic has had on the mental health of health workers. The main purpose of this research article was to examine the protective and risk factors associated with depression and anxiety of physicians practicing in the US during the early part of the pandemic.

(01/20/22) The Watershed Of Practice-Based Research: Lessons And Opportunities From The COVID Pandemic
Practice-based Research Networks (PBRNs) are promoted as perfect vehicles for learning lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic in this piece published by Health Affairs. The authors provide recommendations for changing PBRNs from a reactive system to a more responsive system, as the COVID-19 pandemic provided significant challenges to the funding and operation of these networks.

(01/19/22) The COVID-19 Pandemic Is Breaking the US Healthcare System – but That’s Only a Symptom of the Underlying Disease
In this Forbes article, Dr. Stephen Thomas, an infectious diseases physician at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University, discusses how the pandemic makes apparent the many overarching problems in America’s healthcare system. Dr. Thomas argues we are heading towards a breaking point for American healthcare “and without an immediate and meaningful intervention, the damage will be significant and take years to undo.”

(01/18/22) Experiences of Black and Latinx Health Care Workers in Support Roles During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Qualitative Study
This research article published in PLOS One investigates the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black and Latinx health care workers in support roles. The authors conducted two group interviews and eight individual interviews with health care workers between December 2020 and February 2021. Participants included members of a high-risk workforce and communities that bore a disproportionate share of the pandemic’s brunt. Overall, the interviewees reported disruptive changes in job duties and positions. These changes were even exacerbated by the persistent dread that they might get COVID-19 and infect their family members. Health care workers with direct patient care reported having less opportunity to engage with patients.

(01/11/22) You’d Expect Health Care Workers on the COVID Frontlines to Be Tested Regularly. You’d Be Wrong
This opinion piece published in STAT highlights concerns over the lack of regular testing for health care workers and the impact this has on the resiliency of the health workforce as a whole. Currently the health workforce in the United States is experiencing high rates of burnout and shortages of staff, with new guidelines recommending even health care workers with COVID-19 who are symptomatic return to work in some situations.

(01/08/22) CA Health Care Workers Raise Concerns Over New State COVID-19 Protocols
The extremely infectious omicron variant has increased the number of persons admitted to California hospitals, prompting the California Department of Public Health to release new recommendations to ensure that there is enough staff to manage the surge. According the new guideline, health care workers who test positive for COVID-19 will no longer be required to isolate or test negative and will be able to return to work immediately if they are asymptomatic. Advocacy groups say the move is a critical error that puts patients at danger.

(01/06/22) Hochul Proposes $10B to Bolster Health Care Workforce in New York
New York governor Kathy Hochul has announced plans to invest $10 billion to improve the health workforce in New York State. This investment seeks to grow the health workforce by 20 percent over the next five years, and includes $4 billion meant to support wages and bonuses for health care workers exhausted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

(01/04/22) We Must Practice What We Preach: a Framework to Promote Well-being and Sustainable Performance in the Public Health Workforce in the United States
Research during the COVID-19 pandemic has found an increase in anxiety, depression, and burnout among health care professionals. This article provides a framework to “prioritize the well-being and sustainable performance of the public health workforce to foster resilience and mitigate stressors.”

(01/04/22) Health Care Workers Concerned by Shorter Isolation After COVID Infections
This article from NBC News covers the recently changed recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reducing required isolation time from 10 days to 7 days with a negative test, or fewer days with staffing shortages.

(01/04/22) Union Calls on OSHA to Restore COVID Safety Standards for Health Care Workers
The largest union representing federal health care workers in the United States, the American Federation of Government Employees, is calling for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to restore the temporary COVID-19 emergency workplace standards, which were rescinded in part in December 2021.

(12/26/21) Healthcare Workers Say Some COVID-19 Patients and Their Families Are Demanding Unapproved Therapies
Some healthcare workers report that some COVID-19 patients and their families are requesting unproven treatments and, in some instances, threaten healthcare workers. Healthcare workers say that there is still a lot of misinformation among patients, and it’s really difficult to communicate with patients who are unvaccinated, have caught COVID-19, and are looking for some instant relief.

(12/24/21) CDC Shortens Isolation Time for Health Care Workers With COVID-19
In response to the Omicron variant, the CDC is shortening the isolation period for healthcare workers who test positive for COVID-19. According to a new guideline released Thursday, healthcare workers with COVID-19 may return to work after seven days if they are asymptomatic and test negative. The agency says that the isolation period can even be shorter if there are staffing shortages. To return to work after the infection, healthcare workers should obtain a negative test result within 48 hours.

(12/21/21) First Health-care Worker COVID-19 Rule Ends as OSHA Goes Mum
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard rule for health care workers has lapsed, with no word yet on a replacement. No permanent regulation change has been implemented, even as COVID-19 infection and hospitalization continue to plague health care systems.

(12/21/21) ‘Great Resignation’ Could Be Coming for Healthcare as Clinicians Face Mounting Burnout and Stress, Study Finds
As the COVID19 pandemic continues to surge, data suggests that the US is on the brink of a turnover wave in the health workforce. A recent study published by American Medical Association (AMA) found that one in 5 physicians and 2 in 5 nurses plan to leave their current practice within 2 years. Another recent study by the Mayo Clinic found that about one-third of physicians and nurses plan to work fewer hours in the next year.

(12/20/21) ‘A True Tragedy’: New England Hospitals Battle Staffing Problems As Doctors Prep for COVID-19 Surge
As the omicron variant surges in the US, New England hospitals are dealing with staffing shortages as many health workers are leaving the profession due to burnout and some nurses are seeing lucrative offers in other states. In Massachusetts state data states that 83 percent of ICU beds are occupied and 93 percent of non ICU beds were occupied as of December 16. In Rhode Island staffing shortages have led to emergency physicians seeing patients in the hallways of the hospital and in waiting rooms, performing the tasks of nurses and medical technicians.

(12/12/21) Perceptions of Inequitable Compensation Reductions Among Healthcare Workers During COVID-19
This research article published in the Journal of Health Care Finance examines the implications of pandemic-related reductions in pay, staffing, and other cost-saving measures health care organizations implemented throughout the United States. The study focuses on the perceptions of staff to these changes, and offers suggestions to improve outcomes and avoid perceptions of inequity.

(12/09/21) Frontline Health Care Workers of Color Bridge Racial Gap in Time of COVID-19
Lack of trust and access to health care services caused extensive damage on Utah’s communities of color during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare attempt to address this challenge by collaborating with local health workers by launching the COVID Communities Partnership. The community health workers bridge the language and cultural gap and mitigate vaccine hesitancy among people in communities. The Utah Department of Health reports that, “since the program began last March, they have referred 19,875 to COVID testing and 40,704 to vaccine clinics.”

(12/09/21) Healthcare Workers Face Increasing Violence From Patients Amid COVID-19 Surge
A spike in COVID-19 cases and workforce shortages have strained Michigan hospitals. On top of those concerns, hospitals say that they are currently dealing with an uptick in violence directed at their employees. According to health officials, the situation is escalating as hospitals get overcrowded and wait times lengthen.

(12/03/21) New Survey Reveals the Significant Impact of COVID-19 on Nurse Satisfaction Levels
A recent survey conducted by Florida Atlantic University’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and Cross Country Healthcare Inc found that nearly 37 percent of nurses feel they are burned out, stressed and overworked. Only 32 percent of nurses surveyed feel that they are very/completely satisfied with their occupation, which is an 20 percent decrease from before the pandemic. 29 percent of nurses desire to leave the profession due to the the nursing shortage and inadequate staffing. 85 percent of nurses believe national licensure would be a benefit to the country during the pandemic.

(12/02/21) The Psychological Toll of the COVID-19 Pandemic has Hit Mental Health Providers Hard, Too
A new Penn Medicine study finds that the COVID-19 pandemic has effected mental health providers noting a concerning trend of burnout, secondary traumatic stress, and financial strain. The study surveyed 49 public mental health clinicians in Philadelphia. All the clinicians surveyed specialize in trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy.

(12/02/21) Marshfield Leaders Tackle Pandemic’s “Brutal” Impact on Morale
After surveying their staff and finding widespread reports of burnout and exhaustion,
leadership at Marshfield Clinic Health System in Wisconsin has taken great measures to boost morale and provide financial and mental support. Marshfield now offers more flexible working options to cut back on physician burnout and focus on the well being of their staff

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