Background The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed front-line healthcare workers to unprecedented risks and stressors threatening both physical and mental health. Prior work in the military has found that team identification, or the sense that one was a part of a team, can help reduce stress and prevent burnout during prolonged stress.
Methods We conducted repeated cross-sectional surveys embedded within emergency department workflow to understand whether team identification was associated with reduced reports of stress and burnout among front-line workers.
Results During the 10-week study which spanned the first wave of COVID-19, 327 of 431 (76%) front-line healthcare workers responded to at least one round of the survey. Higher team identification was associated with significantly less work stress (B=−0.60, 95% CI −0.84 to to -0.40, p<0.001) and burnout (B=−12.87, 95% CI −17.73 to -8.02, p<0.001) in cross-sectional analyses. Further evidence of the protective effect of team identification for work stress (B=−0.36, 95% CI −0.76 to 0.05, p=0.09) and burnout (B=−13.25, 95% CI −17.77 to -8.73, p<0.001) was also found in prospective longitudinal evidence.
Conclusion This work suggests work team identification is a key buffering factor against feelings of stress and burnout. Efforts to promote team identification may offer a promising way for leaders to support front-line healthcare workers’ well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. These results can inform ongoing COVID-19 operational and quality improvement initiatives.
- mental health
- medical leadership
This article is made freely available for use in accordance with BMJ’s website terms and conditions for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic or until otherwise determined by BMJ. You may use, download and print the article for any lawful, non-commercial purpose (including text and data mining) provided that all copyright notices and trade marks are retained.https://bmj.com/coronavirus/usage
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.
Contributors RBS, MK, AW, JD and AKV contributed to the study design, execution and analysis. ER, AU and BL contributed to the execution of the study. AB, EY and EE assisted with data collection and analysis. All authors contributed to the edits to the manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.