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Title: Psychological impact of repeated epidemic exposure on healthcare workers: findings from an online survey of a healthcare workforce exposed to both SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and COVID-19
Authors: Chan, Lai Gwen
Tan, Lynnette Pei Lin
Sim, Kang
Tan, Ming Yee
Goh, Kah Hong
Su, Pei Qi
Tan, Alvin Kah Heng
Lee, Eng Sing
Tan, Shu Yun
Lim, Wen Phei
Aw, Chia Hui
Goh, Yi Zhen
Sadarangani, Sapna
Chow, Angela
Keywords: Science::Medicine
Social sciences::Psychology
Issue Date: 2021
Source: Chan, L. G., Tan, L. P. L., Sim, K., Tan, M. Y., Goh, K. H., Su, P. Q., Tan, A. K. H., Lee, E. S., Tan, S. Y., Lim, W. P., Aw, C. H., Goh, Y. Z., Sadarangani, S. & Chow, A. (2021). Psychological impact of repeated epidemic exposure on healthcare workers: findings from an online survey of a healthcare workforce exposed to both SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and COVID-19. BMJ Open, 11(11), e051895-.
Journal: BMJ Open 
Abstract: Objective: To measure the psychological well-being of healthcare workers (HCWs) during this COVID-19 pandemic and examine the experiences of the subgroup of participants who were also HCWs during the 2003 SARS epidemic. Design: Anonymous online survey adapted from a similar study conducted during the SARS epidemic, disseminated from July 2020 to August 2020. Setting: Nine healthcare institutions across Singapore ranging from primary care, community care, tertiary care and specialised referral centres. Participants: Employees working in the participating healthcare institutions. Results: Of 3828 survey returns, 3616 had at least one completed item on the questionnaire. Majority were female (74.7%), nurses (51.7%), foreign-born (53.2%) and not working in the tertiary care setting (52.1%). The median score on the Impact of Events Scale (IES) was 15 (IQR 23) and 28.2% of the sample scored in the moderate/severe range. 22.7% of the participants were also HCWs during SARS and more than half of them felt safer and better equipped in the current pandemic. 25.2% of SARS HCWs and 25.9% of non-SARS HCWs had moderate/severe IES scores (p=0.904). After adjusting for age, marital status, parity and length of work experience, racial minority groups and living apart from family were independent predictors of high IES regardless of prior SARS epidemic experience. Daily exposure to confirmed or suspect COVID-19 cases increased the odds of high IES for nonSARS HCWs only. Conclusions and relevance: Overall, while 28% of HCWs in our study suffered from significant trauma-related psychological symptoms regardless of prior experience with the SARS epidemic, those with prior experience reported feeling safer and better equipped, finding the workload easier to manage, as well as having more confidence in their healthcare leaders. We recommend for more trauma-informed support strategies for our HCWs especially those from racial minority groups, who are foreign-born and isolated from their families.
ISSN: 2044-6055
DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-051895
Schools: Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine) 
Organisations: Tan Tock Seng Hospital
Rights: © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021. Published by BMJ. Open access. This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:LKCMedicine Journal Articles

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