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Psychological consequences and coping strategies of health-care workers in COVID section of a tertiary hospital: A qualitative study

1 Bharati Hospital and Research Centre, Pune, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, Bharati Hospital and Research Centre, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Kashish Thaper,
Bharati Hospital and Research Centre, Dhankawadi, Pune, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aip.aip_125_21

Background: Health-care workers (HCWs) working in COVID care are vulnerable to various psychological stressors. The novel nature of infection and exponential increase in cases add to the workload and psychological distress. Hence, assessing the psychological consequences and methods of coping in these HCWs is important. The detection can help in devising appropriate psychological interventions for them. Aim: The aim of this study was to assess the psychological reactions, symptoms, and coping strategies of HCWs in COVID section of a tertiary hospital. Objectives: The objectives of this study were as follows: (1) to explore various psychological reactions, stressors, psychological symptoms, and coping skills of doctors, nurses, and support staff working in COVID section of a tertiary care hospital and (2) to correlate the psychological reactions, stressors, and psychological symptoms with sociodemographic factors. Methodology: This was a qualitative study. A total of 100 HCWs including doctors, nurses, and support staff working in COVID section of hospital were interviewed for psychological consequences and their coping strategies. Their narratives were coded into themes and analyzed. Statistical Analysis: Frequency and percentages for quantitative variables were used for statistical analysis. Chi-square test was used for correlation of qualitative variables. Results: The HCWs reported various psychological reactions of worries about their own health which was significant in HCWs in intensive care unit (χ2 = 12.35, P = 0.002) and had concern of nature of work, which was a significant concern in doctors (χ2 = 9.59, P = 0.008). The stressor of uncomfortable personal protective equipment was found to be reported more significantly by support staff (chi2 = 11.1, P = 0.03), and that of long and burdensome work reported more significantly by females (chi2 = 4.64, P = 0.03). They had prominent psychological symptoms of irritability significantly reported by doctors (χ2 = 9.91, P = 0.007), sleep disturbances significantly reported by unmarried (χ2 = 6.76, P = 0.009), and by nurses (χ2 = 9.7, P = 0.008). The most common coping strategies used were acceptance, problem-solving strategies, and communicating with family members and colleagues. Conclusion: The HCWs in COVID section had stressors with psychological reactions and symptoms and used various coping strategies to deal with them.

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