ORIGINAL PAPER
Work stress-related problems in physicians in the time of COVID-19
 
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1
University of Antwerp, Wilrijk, Belgium (University Hospital Antwerp, Department of Emergency Medicine)
2
Algemeen Ziekenhuis Sint Dimpna, Geel, Belgium (Department of Emergency Medicine)
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Algemeen Ziekenhuis Sint-Jozef, Malle, Belgium (Department of Emergency Medicine)
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Algemeen Ziekenhuis Sint Dimpna, Geel, Belgium (Department of Neurology)
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University of Antwerp, Wilrijk, Belgium (Department of Medicine and Health Sciences)
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University of Antwerp, Wilrijk, Belgium (Department of Nursing and Midwifery Sciences, Centre for Research and Innovation in Care (CRIC))
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Francis Somville   

Algemeen Ziekenhuis Sint Dimpna, Department of Emergency Medicine, J.B. Stessenstraat 2, 2440 Geel, Belgium
Online publication date: 2021-01-08
 
 
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ABSTRACT
Objectives: Healthcare workers in the emergency department are exposed to a wide range of physical and psycho-social risks or hazards in the workplace. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of exposure to, the occurrence and perceived risks of, and the worry about, occupational hazards among emergency and hospital physicians in the time of COVID. Material and Methods: Based on the review of occupational hazards in emergency physicians, a questionnaire already used and validated in another study, conducted in 2016, was constructed. The questionnaire consisted of both socio-demographic questions and questions regarding the exposure to, the occurrence and perceived risks of, and the worry about, the following occupational hazards: infectious diseases, COVID-19, physical hazards, violence at work, and stressful situations at work that can cause burnout. A total of 497 questionnaires were distributed to Belgian emergency and hospital physicians in April 20–May 26, 2020. Results: Overall, 319 responses (out of 497 questionnaires) were collected, of which 196 were eligible for statistical analysis. Of the respondents, 32% stated to be confronted with violence and 54% to suffer from health problems related to their work. The exposure to, and the occurrence and perceived risks of, occupational hazards and, more specifically, the exposure to COVID-19 (88%) and its occurrence (10%), and also the worry about these hazards, appear to be high in physicians working in the emergency department. The worry about each of these outcomes is predicted by the supposed exposure, occurrence, and perceived risks. Conclusions: The exposure to, and the occurrence and perceived risks of, physical hazards, violence and burnout are generally high in physicians in the time of COVID-19. Emergency and hospital physicians in Belgium worry the most about the impact of violence, burnout and COVID-19.
eISSN:1896-494X
ISSN:1232-1087