The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on critical care healthcare professionals' work practices and wellbeing: A qualitative study

Elliott, Rosalind, Crowe, Liz, Pollock, Wendy and Hammond, Naomi E. (2022) The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on critical care healthcare professionals' work practices and wellbeing: A qualitative study. Australian Critical Care. ISSN 1036-7314 (In Press)

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aucc.2022.10.001

Abstract

Background
Burnout and other psychological comorbidities were evident prior to the COVID-19 pandemic for critical care healthcare professionals (HCPs) who have been at the forefront of the health response. Current research suggests an escalation or worsening of these impacts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Objectives
The objective of this study was to undertake an in-depth exploration of the impact of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic on the wellbeing of HCPs working in critical care.

Methods
This was a qualitative study using online focus groups (n = 5) with critical care HCPs (n = 31, 7 medical doctors and 24 nurses) in 2021: one with United Kingdom–based participants (n = 11) and four with Australia-based participants (n = 20). Thematic analysis of qualitative data from focus groups was performed using Gibbs framework.

Findings
Five themes were synthesised: transformation of anxiety and fear throughout the pandemic, the burden of responsibility, moral distress, COVID-19 intruding into all aspects of life, and strategies and factors that sustained wellbeing during the pandemic. Moral distress was a dominant feature, and intrusiveness of the pandemic into all aspects of life was a novel finding.

Conclusions
The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely impacted critical care HCPs and their work experience and wellbeing. The intrusiveness of the pandemic into all aspects of life was a novel finding. Moral distress was a predominate feature of their experience. Leaders of healthcare organisations should ensure that interventions to improve and maintain the wellbeing of HCPs are implemented.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: This work was supported by the Australian College of Critical Care Nurses Diane Chamberlain Research Seeding Grant 2020.
Uncontrolled Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, Critical care, Focus groups, Healthcare professionals, Stress, Psychological Wellbeing Healthcare workers Thematic analysis
Subjects: B900 Others in Subjects allied to Medicine
C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Nursing, Midwifery and Health
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2022 14:12
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2022 14:15
URI: https://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/50715

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