A groupd of medical professionals wearing face masks gathered in a discussion in a hospital hallway.

A PCORI-funded research registry of more than 55,000 healthcare workers and their families has powered a study that provides important insights into the psyche of COVID-19 healthcare workers during the pandemic.

Results appearing in the Journal of General Internal Medicine show that COVID-19 healthcare workers experienced high rates of potential moral injury that are comparable to rates among combat veterans. Moral injuries are defined as actions that conflict with values and beliefs, causing psychological harm.

The researchers relied on data from 618 post-9/11 combat veterans and a separate survey of 2,099 healthcare workers enrolled in the Healthcare Worker Exposure Response and Outcomes (HERO) Registry. Veterans were asked about moral experiences in the context of their military service, while healthcare workers were asked about their experiences during COVID-19.

Healthcare workers noted that witnessing the public’s disregard for preventing COVID-19 transmission, seeing people dying, experiencing staffing shortages, rationing personal protective equipment, and enforcing policies not allowing visitors to witness dying patients were among the experiences that conflicted with their moral values.

View the Journal Publication


Posted: April 6, 2022

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