What is the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the psychosocial and emotional well-being of hospital staff? Which factors contribute to this well-being? And what can a hospital do to make sure that their staff is more equipped to deal with this or another crisis? Faculty of Economics and Business researchers Dr Joost van de Brake, Dr Peter Essens, Maxim Laurijssen and Prof. Gerben van der Vegt will start a new research project in September to look at these questions. They received a 200K grant from ZonMw, the Dutch organization for Healthcare research and innovation.
In the last months, hospital staff has put in a tremendous effort to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. In March and April, with over 300 new patients daily, no leave requests were granted and all non-essential surgeries were delayed. While there was nationwide appreciation for the dedication of all healthcare employees, at the same time, they were under a lot of pressure and got ill.
Van der Vegt: ‘It is very important for our society that the hospital staff are able to function well. The goal of this project is to map the effect Covid-19 has on the psychosocial and emotional well-being of hospital staff as well as find out how we can diminish the negative effects and possibly, enforce the positive ones.’
Van de Brake: ‘We will work together with a large hospital in the south of the Netherlands. During our research, hospital staff can share their experiences via a questionnaire with statements and open questions. They can tell us which obstructions and challenges they went through. Our expectation is that the more the current crisis is seen as a positive challenge rather than an obstruction, the more an employee is capable of handling everything in the long-term.‘
Van der Vegt: ‘Another factor that might influence whether an employee experiences the crisis as an obstruction or challenge are team processes. If the communication within a team is open, free and honest, team members less likely to experience Covid-19 as an obstruction. Finally, we will also look at whether the demographic diversity of a team influences the impact of Covid-19 on employees. For instance, a younger employee might experience more pressure if older co-workers, who are more likely to experience severe complications from Covid-19) have dropped out.’
The results of the research will be shared with Dutch hospitals. Van de Brake: ‘We will develop a website that lists key recommendation on how to make their staff members more resilient during the current crisis or other stressful situations.’ The project will run for two years and the results will be published through Open Access.
Contact: Joost van de Brake
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