Resilience strategies to manage psychological distress among healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic: a narrative review

Anaesthesia. 2020 Oct;75(10):1364-1371. doi: 10.1111/anae.15180. Epub 2020 Jul 3.


The COVID-19 pandemic marks an extraordinary global public health crisis unseen in the last century, with its rapid spread worldwide and associated mortality burden. The longevity of the crisis and disruption to normality is unknown. With COVID-19 set to be a chronic health crisis, clinicians will be required to maintain a state of high alert for an extended period. The support received before and during an incident is likely to influence whether clinicians experience psychological growth or injury. An abundance of information is emerging on disease epidemiology, pathogenesis and infection control prevention. However, literature on interventions for supporting the psychological well-being of healthcare workers during disease outbreaks is limited. This article summarises the available management strategies to increase resilience in healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. It focuses on self-care and organisational justice. It highlights various individual as well as organisational strategies. With the success of slowing disease spread in many countries to date, and reduced work-load due to limitations on elective surgery in many institutions, there is more time and opportunity to be pro-active in implementing measures to mitigate or minimise potential adverse psychological effects and improve, restore and preserve the well-being of the workforce now and for years to come. The purpose of this review is to review available literature on strategies for minimising the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on clinicians and to identify pro-active holistic approaches which may be beneficial for healthcare workers both for the current crisis and into the future.

Keywords: COVID-19; health care worker; pandemic; resilience.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Psychological Distress*
  • Resilience, Psychological*
  • SARS-CoV-2