This is how we keep healthcare professionals going during the corona pandemic


The COVID-19 pandemic is putting healthcare professionals in all sectors under great pressure. More than ever, it is important for healthcare professionals on and outside the front line to be and remain mentally and physically healthy and employable. Based on systematic literature review on comparable virus outbreaks, HU University of Applied Sciences professor Nienke Bleijenberg and fellow researchers from the Research group Proactive care for older people living at home, UMC Utrecht and THINC. came up with a package of practical and easy-to-implement recommendations that hospitals can use to keep their healthcare professionals on their feet.

Portret van Lector Nienke Bleijenberg“We have looked at the lessons we can learn from previous virus outbreaks such as SARS, MERS and Ebola”, Nienke explains. “Our recommendations address the resilience of healthcare personnel, the clear division of tasks and responsibilities, and the work pattern and working conditions during a virus outbreak. We mainly advocate customisation. For example, don’t just set up a buddy system for nursing staff and treating doctors, but also set strict preconditions for psychosocial support and take their private situation into account.”

"The recommendations focus on different stakeholders within hospitals, such as management, psychosocial support and healthcare professionals themselves."

“The result of our research is a set of practical and easy-to-implement recommendations by means of which healthcare organisations can offer their professionals maximum protection against tiring, stressful and emotional working conditions, both in the short and the long term.”

Qualitative interviews with experts

Nienke: “With a group of twelve researchers, we screened no fewer than 3,842 articles in five days, 152 of which we read full-text. Ultimately, we included 82 articles in our research. We supplemented this existing knowledge with qualitative interviews with experts.”

“Before publication, the experts we interviewed reflected on the recommendations. To make them practically applicable, the recommendations focus on different categories of stakeholders within the hospital, such as department management, psychosocial support teams and the healthcare professionals themselves."

Read the scientific publication

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