Two providers in PPE stand in a doorway.

Studying how stress from COVID-19 affects healthcare workers

Associate Professor Ryan Demmer is co-leading the study with the School of Nursing to help healthcare systems determine how to best support the health and well-being of employees during the COVID-19 crisis.

Charlie Plain | January 26, 2021

University of Minnesota researchers are conducting a study to shed light on how the stress of the pandemic is affecting the lives of healthcare workers. The results of the study will help healthcare systems determine how to best support the health and well-being of employees during the COVID-19 crisis.  

Ryan Demmer smiling
Study co-leader and Associate Professor Ryan Demmer.

School of Public Health Associate Professor Ryan Demmer and Professor Jayne Fulkerson from the School of Nursing are leading the study.

“COVID-19 has presented unprecedented challenges, burdens, and uncertainties to healthcare professionals,” says Demmer. “Understanding the impact of the pandemic on the physical and mental health of the healthcare workforce is not only the right thing to do, it is fundamental to maintaining a functional and resilient healthcare workforce during a global pandemic.”

The study is open to any healthcare workers in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 80 working in clinical settings. The researchers are particularly interested in recruiting providers who work directly with patients. Participants in the study will be interviewed and asked to periodically complete surveys about their behavior and well-being over the course of the 12 months. More than 400 people have already signed up for the study through a collaboration with the M Health Fairview health system and there is no current deadline or limit for enrollment.

Jayne Fulkerson smiling.
Study co-leader and School of Nursing Professor Jayne Fulkerson.

The overarching goal of this research is to study behaviors, stress, and burnout related to COVID-19 among healthcare workers. The study will specifically investigate:

  • Healthcare worker stress levels and their stress management practices.
  • The use of employee assistance or other services.
  • Employee well-being.
  • Employee job and financial security.
  • COVID-19 symptoms and diagnosis among workers.
  • Employee mobility patterns, such as time spent at home, work, or engaging in out-of-home recreation. 

Preliminary results from the study are expected to be released this spring and will be shared through University public announcements and scientific journal articles. The researchers will also provide tailored data to the M Health Fairview healthcare system to directly benefit its staff.

Sign up to participate in the study.

For more information on the research, email Associate Professor Demmer.

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