Preserving organizational resilience, patient safety, and staff retention during covid-19 requires a holistic consideration of the psychological safety of healthcare workers

Pavani Rangachari, Jacquelynn L. Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

During the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare workers are fighting a lethal virus with acute shortages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). These unprecedented circumstances have amplified the sources of emotional distress and worker burnout. However, many healthcare organizations (HCOs) in the United States, have opted for a “stoic approach” to healthcare worker support, i.e., no additional support beyond federal and state policy protections for the licensing and liability of healthcare workers. In this scenario, a key public health concern is sustaining an adequate healthcare workforce, both by way of quantity (adequate numbers) and quality (maximizing clinician resilience to provide safe care to large volumes of patients under challenging conditions). Therefore, it is imperative for HCO leaders to recognize that a limited view of worker psychological safety, without due consideration for the broader emotional distress created by the pandemic, could have the effect of restricting organizational resilience and adversely impacting patient safety and staff retention during and beyond the pandemic. This paper uses the organizational resilience framework to discuss the potential impact of a stoic approach to healthcare worker support on patient safety and staff retention in a hospital intensive care unit (ICU) during COVID-19. The discussion in turn, helps to develop recommendations for HCOs to overcome these challenges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4267
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume17
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2 2020

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Hospital intensive care
  • Leadership
  • Mental health
  • Organizational resilience
  • Patient safety
  • Staff retention
  • Worker psychological safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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