Frontline Healthcare Worker Concerns during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Engagement with an Adapted Virtual Stress Management and Resiliency Program

Helen Mizrach, BS

Massachusetts General Hospital
Frontline Healthcare Worker Concerns during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Engagement with an Adapted Virtual Stress Management and Resiliency Program

Scientific Abstract

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has strained healthcare systems, leading to redeployment of clinical staff to treat the surge of COVID-19 patients. Frontline clinicians face immense stressors including changing clinical guidelines, limited PPE, and health-related fears.

Supporting their mental well-being and resilience is of critical importance. We responded by adapting an evidence-based stress management and resiliency program (SMART-3RP) for frontline clinicians. Here, we assessed frontline clinician concerns, engagement, and interest in the adapted SMART-3RP.

Methods: From 3/24/20-5/29/20, frontline clinicians across the MGB healthcare system registered for virtual resiliency groups. SMART-3RP content was targeted to the stressors of COVID-19 clinical care delivery and program duration was condensed. Surveys assessed sociodemographic characteristics, pandemic-related concerns, and program helpfulness.

Descriptive statistics (means and frequencies) examined sociodemographic characteristics and attendance. Qualitative data was double-coded to generate recurrent themes.

Results: 151 frontline clinicians from over 12 hospitals registered. Program participants included MDs (13%), NPs/RNs/PAs (38%), social workers (18%), PT/OTs (9%), patient service providers (14%), techs/translators (5%), and advance practice clinicians (3%). Recurrent concerns included: personal health/safety; social concerns (i.e., isolation); emotional concerns (i.e., grief); system-level concerns (i.e., insufficient supplies); and work-related concerns (i.e., understaffing). 103 clinicians (68%) attended at least one session; program participants completed on average 6 (75%) of the 8 sessions. Participants found connecting with others facing similar workplace- challenges and learning targeted stress-coping techniques to be most helpful.

Conclusions: Over 100 frontline clinicians engaged in the adapted SMART-3RP. Clinicians’ concerns ranged from their personal health to working within a greater hospital system. They appreciated the collegial group setting and targeted content. System-wide resiliency interventions may show promise for protecting the well-being of frontline healthcare workers.

research Areas


Helen Mizrach, BS, Giselle Perez, Ph.D., Joanna Streck, Ph.D., Margaret Baim, MS, ANP-BC, Cayley Bliss, Mary Susan Convery, MSW, LICSW, Sydney Crute, BA, John Denninger, MD, Ph.D., Michelle Dossett MD, Ph.D, MPH, Maurizio Fava, MD, Stacie Fredriksson, M.A., Gregory Fricchione, D. PHL, MD, Nevita George, BS, Daniel Hall, Ph.D., Sara Remington Hart, M.A., John Herman, MD, April Hirschberg, MD, Daphne Holt, MD, Ph.D., Sara Dolan Looby, Ph.D., Christina M. Luberto, Ph.D., Laura Malloy, LICSW, Jocelyn Meek, BA, Darshan H. Mehta, MD, MPH, Rachel Millstein, Ph.D., MHS, Katherine Rosa, Ph.D., CNP, FNP-BC., Ellen Slawsby, Ph.D., Amelia Stanton, Ph.D., A. Clare Stupinski, LICSW, Lara Traeger, Ph.D., Rachel Vanderkruik, Ph.D., MSc, Sabine Wilhelm, Ph.D., Louisa Sylvia, Ph.D. & Elyse Park, Ph.D., MPH

Principal Investigator

Elyse Park, PhD, MPH