Listening to Hospital Personnel's Narratives during the COVID-19 Outbreak

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Sep 3;17(17):6413. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17176413.


Healthcare workers (HCWs) facing the COVID-19 pandemic are required to deal with unexpectedly traumatic situations, concern about contamination, and mounting patient deaths. As a means to address the changing needs of our hospital's HCWs, we conducted a narrative analysis study in the early stages of the covid-19 outbreak. A focus group of medical experts, conducted as the initial step, recommended that a bottom-up research tool be used for exploring HCWs' traumatic experiences and needs. We therefore conducted 450 semi-structured in-depth interviews with hospital personnel. The interviews were based on Maslow's Pyramid of Needs model, and the narratives were analyzed by applying the Listening Guide methodology. The interviewees expressed a need for physical and psychological security in the battle against Covid-19, in addition to the need for attachment and meaning. Importantly, we also found that the interview itself may serve as a therapeutic tool. In light of our findings, we recommended changes in hospital practices, which were subsequently implemented. Further research on HCWs' traumatic experiences and needs will provide evidence-based knowledge and may enable novel approaches in the battle against Covid-19. To conclude, the knowledge generated by listening to HCWs' narratives may provide suitable support programs for professionals.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic; first responders; healthcare professionals; listening guide.

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / psychology
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Pandemics
  • Personnel, Hospital / psychology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / psychology
  • SARS-CoV-2