Background In April 2020 we undertook a survey of staff wellbeing to gain a better understanding of the effects of rapid and substantial change upon all staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to staff feedback to the survey report, we repeated the survey 12 months later to identify some of the longer-term issues related to working through the pandemic.
Aim The aim of this evaluation was to identify opportunities to support staff in their work and their wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods Design. The survey collected basic demographic information and asked six open-ended questions designed to elicit further detail about staff experience and understanding of rapid change that had been identified as part of the stakeholder engagement.
Setting and recruitment. We invited non-clinical and clinical staff from all departments and teams within a West Midlands hospice.
Analysis. We used a codebook thematic approach (Braun, Clarke, Hayfield, et al., 2019) to identify: (1) descriptive themes to provide a summary of how staff were managing with the rapid change and any shared issues addressing their wellbeing; and, (2) key points of action that could be taken to support staff further.
Findings Staff reported feelings of duty, pride and working together for a common cause and this sense of purpose was also evident in the second survey. Staff initially described feelings of anxiety and frustration, and a year into the pandemic staff are feeling exhausted, challenged, sad, stressed, tired, isolated, overwhelmed, and pressured. Staff reported making significant personal efforts to manage the uncertainties the semi-permanent exceptional working conditions bring to work and home life.
Outcomes and impact The researchers presented the findings to senior management, who have agreed to initiate a programme of support and open communication with staff.
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