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Concerned, yet committed: A tertiary hospital healthcare workers’ concerns and readiness in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic

Jeevan Raaj Thangayah, MMed (EM), MRCEM, Aliviya Dutta, PGFEM, MRCEM, R. Ponampalam, FRCS (A&E), FAMS, GDOM

Abstract


Background: Healthcare workers (HCWs) are a vital resource in every society. The concerns of HCWs during pandemics are unique as they have to consider multiple issues including their health as well as the risks to their loved ones. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic provides no exception in testing HCWs’ readiness.

Purpose: We aim to study the concerns and preparedness of HCWs at Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a tertiary healthcare institution, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of interest were the differences between HCWs from the emergency department (ED) compared to other non-ED locations.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out in the form of a voluntary survey containing 34 questions. All data were anonymous. Chi-square analysis and Bonferroni correction were carried out to ascertain the significance of the associations between the two groups.

Results: A total of 1249 responses were received. Of all respondents, 57 percent felt that their jobs put them at great risk of exposure to COVID-19 while 67 percent accepted the risk as part of their job and 60 percent were still afraid of falling ill. Among the respondents, 78 percent responded that they would not look for another job while almost half considered it acceptable if their colleagues resigned. There were significant differences between ED and non-ED staff in terms of feeling that not only they but also those close to them were at high risk of exposure to the disease, people avoiding them and their families due to their job and ED staff feeling that there would be increased workload but inadequate manpower to handle the demands.

Conclusion: Despite previous experience with pandemics, this study highlights that there still are issues faced by HCWs that need to be addressed in order for them to function effectively. Although there are differences between ED and non-ED HCWs’ concerns, all HCWs need to be recognized as crucial stakeholders and due attention should be given to them.


Keywords


COVID-19, emergency department, infectious diseases, staff support, psychology

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/jem.0651

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