New study examines healthcare resilience during COVID-19

Researchers in the Academic and Research Collaborative in Health are examining the psychological, social and behavioural sources of resilience used by health professionals during COVID-19

It’s safe to say that it has been an unprecedented year for healthcare professionals.

As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, each wave brought devastating pictures of vulnerable, intensive care patients and the PPE-suited healthcare professionals battling to keep them alive.

The work itself posed great risk: in Victoria alone, over 3500 healthcare professionals have been infected with coronavirus, with 72.9% acquiring the disease in a healthcare setting.

Researchers from La Trobe University and Healthscope, in collaboration with with Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, are now examining the psychological, social and behavioural sources of resilience which help professionals to navigate these challenging times.

“Few studies have investigated the lived experiences of health professionals during the pandemic,” says lead researcher, Dr Lydia Brown. “Specifically, there is little understanding about the types of resilience that healthcare professionals have drawn on to help them get through, and possibly even thrive, during COVID times.”

The research team are currently interviewing Healthscope healthcare professionals about their experiences during the COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria.

“Preliminary findings indicate that some clinicians experienced a heightened sense of meaning during this time,” says Dr Brown. “Teamwork, effective communication and the ability to respond to rapidly changing conditions are emerging as common resilience factors that have helped clinicians during the COVID-19 response.”

The study, Dr Brown says, aims to help scientists and clinicians to better understand resilience factors in healthcare professionals.

“Our vision is to identify modifiable resilience factors that can be taught, in order to help train healthcare professionals to cope, and even thrive, during trying times,” she says.

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Learn more about the Academic and Research Collaborative in Health (ARCH) and the Healthscope ARCH.