environments and COVID at least doubled the stress,” said study co-author and national leader in the study of medical symptoms Kurt Kroenke, M.D., of the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Medicine. “Stress on the job can lead to burnout and other negative consequences. It’s an important question as to how we can help our healthcare workers under high stress conditions like COVID.”
“That ED physicians were receptive to peer-support groups and found them helpful can be relevant to other clinicians working in the ED as well as other stressful medical environments such as intensive care units,” said Dr. Kroenke. “The physicians in our study came together in a group only a handful of times. This is a fairly low-cost intervention that healthcare systems could provide. Even with the pandemic now winding down, I think it could be beneficial for healthcare workers in stressful situations across the board.”
During this pilot study, short versions of depression and anxiety screening tools co- developed by Dr. Kroenke, as well as burnout measurement screeners, were administered to ED physicians and their responses analyzed, revealing evidence of a trend toward decreased symptoms.
“The use of peer support groups for emergency physicians during the COVID-19 pandemic” is published in Journal of the American College of Emergency Medicine Open. The study was funded by an award to Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute from the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.