Healthcare Workers Emotions, Perceived Stressors and Coping Strategies During a MERS-CoV Outbreak.Clin Med Res. 2016 Mar; 14(1):7-14.CM
Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at high risk of contracting Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) during an epidemic. We explored the emotions, perceived stressors, and coping strategies of healthcare workers who worked during a MERS-CoV outbreak in our hospital.
A cross-sectional descriptive survey design.
A tertiary care hospital.
HCWs (150) who worked in high risk areas during the April-May 2014 MERS-CoV outbreak that occurred in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
We developed and administered a "MERS-CoV staff questionnaire" to study participants. The questionnaire consisted of 5 sections with 72 questions. The sections evaluated hospital staffs emotions, perceived stressors, factors that reduced their stress, coping strategies, and motivators to work during future outbreaks. Responses were scored on a scale from 0-3. The varying levels of stress or effectiveness of measures were reported as mean and standard deviation, as appropriate.
Completed questionnaires were returned by 117 (78%) of the participants. The results had many unique elements. HCWs ethical obligation to their profession pushed them to continue with their jobs. The main sentiments centered upon fear of personal safety and well-being of colleagues and family. Positive attitudes in the workplace, clinical improvement of infected colleagues, and stoppage of disease transmission among HCWs after adopting strict protective measures alleviated their fear and drove them through the epidemic. They appreciated recognition of their efforts by hospital management and expected similar acknowledgment, infection control guidance, and equipment would entice them to work during future epidemics.
The MERS-CoV outbreak was a distressing time for our staff. Hospitals can enhance HCWs experiences during any future MERS-CoV outbreak by focusing on the above mentioned aspects.