This episode of ‘Show Me the Science’ focuses on the pandemic’s role in anxiety, depression and other issues for health-care workers, as well as how to train future workers to get help before burnout begins.
With U.S. hospitals crowded with COVID-19 patients for almost two years, the pandemic’s relentlessness has pushed many doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals to the brink. Many have decided to leave the field or question whether to remain. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have launched a research project as part of a new program funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The goal is to reduce burnout and promote mental health and wellness among those in the health-care workforce. Psychiatrist Ginger E. Nicol, MD, is the study’s principal investigator. She says the fact that the pandemic has dragged on for so long makes it especially difficult to handle. And co-investigator, psychiatrist Jessica A. Gold, MD, the director of wellness, engagement and outreach for the Department of Psychiatry, says the culture within health care — that although workers are willing to go to great lengths to help others, they don’t like to ask for help themselves — presents a major challenge.