Healthcare is a Team Sport: Stress, Resilience, and Correlates of Well-Being Among Health System Employees in a Crisis

Academic Article


  • EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: While the COVID-19 pandemic has added stressors to the lives of healthcare workers, it is unclear which factors represent the most useful targets for interventions to mitigate employee distress across the entire healthcare team. A survey was distributed to employees of a large healthcare system in the Southeastern United States, and 1,130 respondents participated. The survey measured overall distress using the 9-item Well-Being Index (WBI), work-related factors, moral distress, resilience, and organizational-level factors. Respondents were also asked to identify major work, clinical, and nonwork stressors. Multivariate regression was used to evaluate associations between employee characteristics and WBI distress score. Overall, 82% of employees reported high distress (WBI ≥ 2), with nurses, clinical support staff, and advanced practice providers reporting the highest average scores. Factors associated with higher distress included increased job demands or responsibilities, heavy workload or long hours, higher frequency of moral distress, and loneliness or social isolation. Factors associated with lower distress were perceived organizational support, work control, perceived fairness of salary cuts, and resilience. Most factors significantly associated with distress-heavy workloads and long hours, increased job demands, and moral distress, in particular-were work-related, indicating that efforts can be made to mitigate them. Resilience explained a small portion of the variance in distress relative to other work-related factors. Ensuring appropriate staffing levels may represent the single largest opportunity to significantly move the needle on distress. However, the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the healthcare system may represent a barrier to addressing these stressors.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Meese KA; Colón-López A; Singh JA; Burkholder GA; Rogers DA
  • Start Page

  • 304
  • End Page

  • 322
  • Volume

  • 66
  • Issue

  • 4