Objective: The mental health toll of COVID-19 on healthcare workers (HCW) is not yet fully described. We characterized distress, coping, and preferences for support among NYC HCWs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional web survey of physicians, advanced practice providers, residents/fellows, and nurses, conducted during a peak of inpatient admissions for COVID-19 in NYC (April 9th-April 24th 2020) at a large medical center in NYC (n = 657).
Results: Positive screens for psychological symptoms were common; 57% for acute stress, 48% for depressive, and 33% for anxiety symptoms. For each, a higher percent of nurses/advanced practice providers screened positive vs. attending physicians, though housestaff's rates for acute stress and depression did not differ from either. Sixty-one percent of participants reported increased sense of meaning/purpose since the COVID-19 outbreak. Physical activity/exercise was the most common coping behavior (59%), and access to an individual therapist with online self-guided counseling (33%) garnered the most interest.
Conclusions: NYC HCWs, especially nurses and advanced practice providers, are experiencing COVID-19-related psychological distress. Participants reported using empirically-supported coping behaviors, and endorsed indicators of resilience, but they also reported interest in additional wellness resources. Programs developed to mitigate stress among HCWs during the COVID-19 pandemic should integrate HCW preferences.
Keywords: Anxiety; COVID-19; Coping; Depression; Distress; Healthcare worker; Insomnia.
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