Title

Hospital-based Healthcare Worker Perceptions of Personal Risk related to COVID-19

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2-2021

Journal

Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine

Abstract

Background Health care workers treating COVID-19 patients face significant stressors such as caring for critically ill and dying patients, physically demanding care requiring new degrees of personal protective equipment use, risk of contracting the disease, and putting loved ones at risk. This study investigates the stress impact from COVID-19 exposure and how nurses and medical providers (physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants) experience these challenges differently. Methods An electronic, self-administered questionnaire was sent to all hospital staff over 6 weeks surveying exposure to COVID-19 patients and degree of stress caused by this exposure. Responses from medical providers and nurses were analyzed for significant contributors to stress levels, as well as comparing responses from medical providers versus nurses.

Results Stress levels from increased risk of disease contraction while on the job, fear of transmitting it to family or friends, and the resulting social stigma were highest in medical staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. Compared to medical providers, nurses had nearly 4 times the odds of considering job resignation due to COVID-19. However, the majority of healthcare workers (77.39% of medical providers and 52.90% of nurses) strongly agreed or agreed with the statements indicating high levels of altruism in their desire to treat COVID-19 patients. Conclusion The significant stress burden placed on nurses likely contributes to increased thoughts of job resignation. However, health care providers displayed high levels of altruism during this time of extreme crisis, despite their personal risks of caring for COVID-19 patients.

Peer Reviewed

1

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