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

Rosalind Elliott*, Liz Crowe, Wendy Pollock, Naomi E. Hammond

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-51
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Critical Care
Volume36
Issue number1
Early online date11 Oct 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on critical care healthcare professionals' work practices and wellbeing: A qualitative study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this