Health Workforce Resiliency

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.

(11/26/21) Morally Injurious Experiences and Emotions of Health Care Professionals During the COVID-19 Pandemic Before Vaccine Availability
This article published in JAMA Network Open answers to a question: How did health care workers experience moral injury during the COVID-19 pandemic before the availability of vaccines? In this study focusing on US healthcare workers, the healthcare workers expressed fear of contracting COVID-19 and spreading the infection to family and friends, stigmatization, short-staffing, and inadequate personal protective equipment. They also indicated a growing distrust and fear of patients and coworkers who hid in symptoms ultimately exposing other people, which the authors called moral injury.

(11/24/21) Even Health-care Workers With Long COVID Are Being Dismissed
Following illness with COVID-19, some health care workers are experiencing symptoms long after, a condition called Long COVID. This condition is changing the way many health care workers provide care, forcing some to leave the profession altogether.

(11/23/21) Biden Administration Spending $1.5 Billion to Increase, Diversify Health Workforce
Vice President Harris announced this week that the Biden Administration is issuing 1.5 billion in grants to increase and diversify the health workforce. The funds will support over 22,000 providers and will go to the National Health Service Corps, Nurse Corps, and several other programs.

(11/18/21) Unvaccinated, Flooded, Burned Out: How Ochsner Health Perseveres
An interview with New Orleans physician, Dr. Nigel Girgrah from Oschner Health, conducted by AMA, that discusse low impact of vaccination rates, physician burnout, Hurricane Ida and how they have effected the health workforce in New Orleans. Despite adversity and setbacks, Girgrah says that Oschner is focused on the health and well being of its workforce.

(11/12/21) The Shadow Pandemic: COVID-19’s Impact on Healthcare Workers’ Mental Health
This article explains that there has been a devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the healthcare workforce. Women under the age of 60 who worked more than 40 hours per week in this profession were more likely to have mental health symptoms, a study found. According to Steven C. Hayes, foundation professor of psychology at the University of Nevada,, the world is reaching a tipping point in terms of addressing the mental health pandemic spreading among traumatized workers.

(11/05/21) Vaccine Side Effects or a Doctor Carrying COVID?
This article, published in The Harvard Gazette, highlights recent research focusing on vaccinated employees in the Massachusetts General Brigham health system. The research utilized an electronic decision-support tool to help triage symptoms of allergic reaction or other ill effects of COVID-19 vaccination and provide advice on whether an employee should work or not, based on the feedback.

(10/27/21) US Medical Student Experiences During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A National Survey
New research published in the journal Academic Medicine evaluates results of a national survey of medical students in the United States on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on medical student experiences. The study found significant impacts on students, especially those who are Black and Hispanic, including limited access to physical activity, tension between personal safety and professional duty, and financial strain among the most common reported impacts.

(10/21/21) WHO and Partners Call for Action to Better Protect Health and Care Workers From COVID-19
The World Health Organization (WHO) and partners have issued an urgent plea for immediate action to better protect health care workers globally from COVID-19 and other health issues. These organizations are concerned with the high numbers of health and care workers who have died from COVID-19 and also with the increasing numbers of the workforce that are suffering from extreme burnout, stress, and fatigue.

(10/14/21) WHO Planning New Network to Connect Nurses Across the Globe
The World Health Organization is creating a virtual network where nurses and midwives can share information, knowledge, and unique ideas on a global level. As burnout and mental health concerns continue to be a major issue during the pandemic, the virtual network will also allow a space for the nurses and midwives to support one another.

(10/14/21) Biden Admin to Invest $100M to Address Health Care Worker Shortage
The Biden administration announced this week that it will invest $100 million to the National Health Service Corps to further address the health care worker shortage. The program will help primary care doctors in rural communities and low income areas that have a hard time with recruitment and retention. The announcement was made after the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the United States lost 17,500 health care employees in September.

(10/14/21) STUDY: 88% of Clinical Support Staff Experiencing Significant Burnout
A Well Health study found that 88% of clinical Support staff are experiencing extreme burnout. Two-thirds of the clinical staff surveyed have contemplated quitting their jobs and 49 percent say that COVID-19 has made their jobs more difficult.

(10/07/21) COVID-19 Keeps Delivering Lessons About Health Care Workers Burnout. Will We Learn Them?
This article argues that health care leaders have a duty to protect the mental wellness of their health care work. Strategies discussed to deal with treating COVID -19 while protecting the health care worker include: speaking out in support of the vaccine, engaging frontline workers early and often, creating a culture of safety throughout healthcare.

(10/07/21) Staffing Shortages Ramp Up Recruitment Pressure on Hospitals
As the pandemic continues, staffing shortages at hospitals are increasing in the healthcare industry. The shortage of workers has effected recruitment and retention and driven up wages in hospitals, which according to a Moody’s report, will lead to declines in profit margins. One positive finding of the study is that there has been a rise in nursing school enrollment which indicates “a more robust long-term care staffing pipeline.”

(10/05/21) At Pandemic Peak, 1 in 3 Resident Doctors in NYC Experienced Burnout
Kaplan study finds that 1 in 3 Doctors in New York City experienced burnout. Results came from an electronic survey distributed during April and May 2020 to health care workers at Mount Sinai Hospital. Nearly 36 percent of the 560 respondents screened positive to “burnout.” Nearly 30 percent of the respondents screened positive to psychiatric disorder from the pandemic.

(10/04/2021) Nearly 1 in 5 Health Care Workers Have Quit Their Jobs During the Pandemic
A new Morning Consult survey that polled a 1,000 health care workers finds that nearly 20 percent of healthcare professional have quit their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. 31% of the health care workers who have kept their jobs during the pandemic have considered leaving, and 79% of health care workers have stated that the national worker shortage has affected their jobs. This is a follow-up to a survey conducted in January 2021.

(09/30/21) Health Workers Once Saluted As Heroes Now Get Threats
This article from the Associated Press highlights an increasingly pressing issue health care workers are facing as the COVID-19 pandemic continues: violence against workers. Health care workers across the United States are experiencing increases in threats, harassment, and assaults, as patients and their families, and members of the community in general, argue against the needs for masks and vaccines.

(09/22/21) Effectiveness of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine Among US Health Care Personnel
A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine looks at the impact of two mRNA vaccines for COVID-19, the Pfizer–BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, on preventing symptomatic infection among health care workers in their workplaces. This study was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and found the vaccines to be highly effective in a real-world setting, which involved health care workers working at facilities in 25 states.

(09/16/21) For Doctors Hit Hard by COVID-19 Stress, There Are Tools to Help
This article from the American Medical Association focuses on physician health given the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic over the previous year and a half. New legislation at the federal level as well as organization tools and resources seek to improve physician health and well-being and safeguard against loss of life for doctors.

(08/31/21) Practical Strategies and the Need for Psychological Support: Recommendations from Nurses Working in Hospitals During the COVID-19 Pandemic
This journal article from the Journal of Health Organization and Management provides some practical recommendations for mitigating difficulties of frontline healthcare workers based on semi-structured interviews with 36 nurses living in Canada and working in Canada or the US. The article suggests six recommendations, including clear communication of work-related policies and psychological support from trusted providers, managers and peers.

(08/19/2021) Strapped by Shortage and Hit With Departures, Nurse Corps Swamped by Another COVID Wave
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on preexisting nursing shortages and the fourth wave of COVID-19 cases has only exacerbated these issues. This article highlights the increased stress and burnout nurses have faced during the pandemic as well as the pandemic’s impact on the nursing industry.

(08/19/21) Investing in Mental Health to Support Our Workforce
This webinar from the Alliance for Health Policy’s 2021 Signature Series brings attention to the growing mental health crisis among the workforce, both in the health-sector and in general, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Four experts discuss the importance of investment in mental health and wellness opportunities for employees as well as current insights and options for employers to effectively reach their workforce.

(08/16/21) Nursing and COVID-19: The Mental Health Burden of the Pandemic for Nurses
While there has been significant focus on barriers to mental health care for physicians, this piece from Vox discusses issues with mental health among nurses, which are currently seeing high turnover and understaffing at hospitals throughout the United States. This interview with Christopher Friese, a professor of nursing at University of Michigan, seeks to better explain the implications of the mental health burden on nurses throughout the pandemic.

(08/13/21) Psychological Distress and Resilience in First Responders and Health Care Workers During the COVID‐19 Pandemic
This study published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology of the British Psychological Society compared population data taken from June and July 2020 in the United Kingdom. The researchers found that first responders and health care workers exhibited lower levels of psychological distress during lockdowns when compared to the general population, and that working in these essential fields could be protective for the mental health of workers.

(08/13/21) Leadership Communication, Stress, and Burnout Among Frontline Emergency Department Staff Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Mixed Methods Approach
A new study published in HealthCare: The Journal of Delivery Science and Innovation by researchers from Yale University looks at the role organizations can play in supporting health care workers and reducing their stress during the COVID-19 pandemic.

(08/11/21) Listen: Two Physicians, One of Whom Had a ‘Breakthrough Infection,’ on COVID-19 Among the Vaccinated
This episode of the First Opinion Podcast from STAT features a conversation between two physicians, one of which contracted a breakthrough infection of COVID-19 following their own vaccination. The other physician, Dr. Céline Gounder, is an infectious disease expert who helps to explain breakthrough infections and what they mean for health care workers.

(08/06/21) The Impact of Racism on Emergency Health Care Workers
A new study from researchers at the Emory University School of Medicine finds that systemic racism is a significant source of stress for emergency health care workers, with black participants in the study reporting higher levels of stress from racism when compared to other participants of color and white participants.

(08/02/21) Inside COVID-19’s Overlooked Toll on the Public Health Workforce
The American Medical Association released a new episode of the “AMA COVID-19 Update” that explored the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on public health workers. A new study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 53% of public health workers reported symptoms of at least one mental health condition.

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