How can we build and maintain the resilience of our health care professionals during COVID-19?

Authors Anja Rieckert , Ewoud Schuit , Nienke Bleijenberg , Debbie ten Cate , Wendela de Lange , Janneke de Man-van Ginkel , Elke Matthijsen , Linda Smit , Dewi Stalpers , Lisette Schoonhoven , Jessica Veldhuizen , Jaap C.A. Trappenburg
Published in BMJ Open
Publication date 27 November 2020
Research groups Chronic Diseases
Type Article


Objective To explore how to build and maintain the resilience of frontline healthcare professionals exposed to COVID-19 outbreak working conditions. Design Scoping review supplemented with expert interviews to validate the findings. Setting Hospitals. Methods We searched PubMed, Embase, PsycINFO, CINAHL, bioRxiv and medRxiv systematically and grey literature for articles focusing on the impact of COVID- 19-like working conditions on the physical and/or mental health of healthcare professionals in a hospital setting. Articles using an empirical design about determinants or causes of physical and/or mental health and about interventions, measures and policies to preserve physical and/or mental health were included. Four experts were interviewed to reflect on the results from the scoping review. Results In total, 4471 records were screened leading to an inclusion of 73 articles. Recommendations prior to the outbreak fostering resilience included optimal provision of education and training, resilience training and interventions to create a feeling of being prepared. Recommendations during the outbreak consisted of (1) enhancing resilience by proper provision of information, psychosocial support and treatment (eg, create enabling conditions such as forming a psychosocial support team), monitoring the health status of professionals and using various forms and content of psychosocial support (eg, encouraging peer support, sharing and celebrating successes), (2) tasks and responsibilities, in which attention should be paid to kind of tasks, task mix and responsibilities as well as the intensity and weight of these tasks and (3) work patterns and working conditions. Findings of the review were validated by experts. Conclusions Recommendations were developed on how to build and maintain resilience of frontline healthcare professionals exposed to COVID-19 outbreak working conditions. These practical and easy to implement recommendations can be used by hospitals and other healthcare organisations to foster and preserve short-term and long-term physical and mental health and employability of their professionals.


Language English
Published in BMJ Open
Key words health care professionals, Resilience, covid-19, employability

Chronic Diseases