Frontline, Essential, and Invisible: The Needs of Low-Wage Workers in Hospital Settings During COVID-19

Authors: Lisa de Saxe Zerden, PhD, MSW | Erica Richman, PhD, MSW | Brianna Lombardi, PhD, MSW | Alexandria Forte, MSW

Topics: COVID-19, Staffing

Research Center: Carolina Health Workforce Research Center

November 22, 2022

Burnout is a prominent concern in the healthcare workforce. Although relevant to all healthcare professions, low-wage workers are often left out of the conversation despite the vital role they play in providing care. The US has an estimated 7 million underpaid but essential health care workers, including home health workers, medical and nursing assistants, food service workers, patient orderlies, housekeepers, patient sitters, and janitors.

This article presents findings of a qualitative study seeking to understand some of the main stressors contributing to burnout for frontline, essential healthcare workers in hospital settings.

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