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Medical Assignment: Impact Of COVID-19 On Health Care Professionals


Write a medical assignment conducting the research study to investigate the impact of the COVID- 19 pandemic on the mental health and emotional stress of health care professionals.


Literature Review

As evident in the present context of medical assignment, the year 2020 has posed some serious challenges worldwide in coping with the COVID19 pandemic as the global population is grappling to come into terms with this outbreak. The last couple of months have accelerated the healthcare burden of the medical professionals, healthcare workers who are acting as the frontline warriors and rendering relentless services to treat the Corona virus infected patients. However, this unprecedented situation has affected their overall wellbeing and issues related to their mental health are on the rise as reported across various relevant literatures. Experts are of the opinion that these mental health problems apart from influencing the psychosocial wellbeing in the long term, might come in the way of understanding, judgment, attention and decision-making capacity of the medical workers thereby hindering the battle against COVID19 as well (Torales et al., 2020).

Research Aim
Hence, it becomes imperative now to investigate the impact of COVID19 pandemic on mental health and emotional stress of the healthcare professionals for gathering newer insight and vision into these imminent problems afflicting many.

Research Themes
Fear of contagion

In one of the first study since the outbreak of the COVID19 pandemic Kang et al., (2020) dealt with the mental health of the medical workers in Wuhan, China who are battling against the 2019 novel Corona virus. They reportedly are encountering immense pressure from overwork, contamination, discrimination, frustration, isolation, patients with negative emotions, paucity of contact with families and exhaustion thereby culminating in mental health issues such as anxiety, depressive symptoms, insomnia, stress, anger, fear and denial and thus endangering their overall wellbeing.

Du et al., (2020) in their study reported about the psychological symptoms of the Chinese frontline healthcare workers (HCWs) in Wuhan at the time of the COVID19 pandemic. As per the report, these frontline HCWs had moderate to severe stress at the peak of the outbreak while many showed heightened anxiety and depression thereby showing greater vulnerability as compared to their outreach counterparts.

Que et al., (2020) further revealed that the frontline HCWs in China exhibited symptoms of depression, anxiety and insomnia alongside other psychological problems. This in turn was attributed to factors that included attention to negative or neutral information associated with pandemic, reception of negative feedback from families and friends engaged in front-line work in addition to unwillingness to join front-line if given an option.

In another cross-sectional survey based study by Dai et al., (2020), it was further highlighted that the psychological distress amongst the HCWs in Wuhan arose due to their worries related to contracting the contagion and protective measures.

Occupational hazard
Wu et al., (2020) in a bid to understand the status of psychological stress among the medical staff during the COVID19 outbreak, conducted a questionnaire survey encompassing the medical staff and college students across all provinces in China. Their results depicted an “exposure effect” in terms of cognition, emotion, physical and mental response for the frontline medical staff. Some of the reasons that have been attributed to such findings include, long working hours for the medical staff and requirement of wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) for longer duration that in turn accounted for physical pain and breathing difficulty.

Chew et al., (2020) carried out a study involving self-administered questionnaire amongst the HCWs working in hospitals from Singapore and India during COVID19 pandemic, thereby deducing a significant association between the prevalence of physical symptoms and psychological outcomes among HCWs. Headache, lethargy and throat pain were some of the commonly reported problems. Moreover, those who had physical symptoms were found to have greater rates of anxiety, stress, depression and PTSD.

Ho et al., (2020) in their work based in Singapore showed that the medical responders including the HCWs particularly those working in emergency departments, isolation wards, intensive care units, during COVID19, exhibited to have heightened stress, tend to become emotionally influenced and traumatized apart from showing greater levels of anxiety and depression, all owing to their risk of exposure. Thus, in many of them it has been estimated to lead to conflict and dissonance because of imbalance in personal duty, personal fear for oneself and others and altruism.

An Italian study carried out by Bettinsoli et al., (2020) brought to the forefront that due to the combined effect of the direct exposure to the virus together with the negative influence of the COVID19 emergency outbreak upon contextual psychological functioning result in debilitating physical and mental health thereby posing threat of severe repercussions in case of Italian HCWs.

In another Italian study by Braquehais et al., (2020) through self-administered questionnaires circulated online among Italian healthcare professionals revealed that 33.5% of them attained threshold for psychiatric morbidity. Further, it showed that in comparison to before the COVID19 outbreak, during the outbreak their psychological health especially in case of women were worse.

Ornell et al., (2020) in their report from Brazil highlighted that the healthcare professionals who are the frontline warriors of COVID19 are the risk of emotional breakdown owing to their emotional helplessness and mental suffering in course of the pandemic under the situation of escalating curve of the contagion in the country.

As far as reports from USA is concerned, Shechter et al., (2020) in their study indicated that New York HCWs, mostly nurses and advanced practice providers are experiencing COVID19 related psychological distress exhibited through symptoms of anxiety, depression and acute stress.

UK based study done by Greenberg et al., (2020) suggests that in course of dealing with challenges due to COVID19 pandemic, healthcare staff pose greater risk of moral injury as well as mental health problems.

Job stress and burnout
Systematic appraisal of studies related to mental health problems among HCWs due to COVID19 pandemic identified certain socio-demographic factors such as age, gender, profession, place and department of work alongside some psychological factors such as poor self-efficacy and social support to be associated with heightened stress, depressive symptoms, insomnia and anxiety in HCWs (Spoorthy et al., 2020).

In yet another systematic review and meta-analysis conducted in the context of COVID19 pandemic, it has been highlighted that a minimum of one in five healthcare professionals show depression and anxiety symptoms, while almost four in ten HCWs have sleeping difficulties and/or insomnia. Furthermore, the rates associated with anxiety and depression were higher in case of female HCWs and nursing staff apart from prevalence of milder mood symptoms (Pappa et al., 2020).

Research Gap
In this incredible situation of COVID19 pandemic, when the HCWs are working for longer hours than usual have lead to greater incidences of experiencing fatigue and stress which in turn have affected the physical and mental wellbeing vis-à-vis work performance of these frontline warriors. Until date, the literature available though have focused on these burning issues pertaining to HCWs, yet they are not exhaustive and there remains further scope to do a thorough investigation on the impact of COVID19 on the mental health alongside the emotional stress in case of HCWs.

Bettinsoli, M., Di Riso, D., Napier, J., Moretti, L., Bettinsoli, P., Delmedico, M., … Moretti, B. (2020, April 26). Mental Health Conditions of Italian Healthcare Professionals During the Covid-19 Disease Outbreak.

Braquehais, M. D., Vargas-Cáceres, S., Gómez-Durán, E., Nieva, G., Valero, S., Casas, M., & Bruguera, E. (2020). The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of healthcare professionals. QJM: An International Journal of Medicine, 113 (9), 613-617.

Chew, N. W., Lee, G. K., Tan, B. Y., Jing, M., Goh, Y., Ngiam, N. J., ... & Sharma, A. K. (2020). A multinational, multicentre study on the psychological outcomes and associated physical symptoms amongst healthcare workers during COVID-19 outbreak. Medical assignment Brain, behavior, and immunity, 88, 559-565.

Dai, Y., Hu, G., Xiong, H., Qiu, H., & Yuan, X. (2020). Psychological impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak on healthcare workers in China. MedRxiv. doi:

Du, J., Dong, L., Wang, T., Yuan, C., Fu, R., Zhang, L., ... & Bouey, J. (2020). Psychological symptoms among frontline healthcare workers during COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan. General hospital psychiatry. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2020.03.011

Greenberg, N., Docherty, M., Gnanapragasam, S., & Wessely, S. (2020). Managing mental health challenges faced by healthcare workers during covid-19 pandemic. bmj, 368. doi:

Ho, C. S., Chee, C. Y., & Ho, R. C. (2020). Mental health strategies to combat the psychological impact of COVID-19 beyond paranoia and panic. Ann Acad Med Singapore, 49(1), 1-3.

Kang, L., Li, Y., Hu, S., Chen, M., Yang, C., Yang, B. X., ... & Chen, J. (2020). The mental health of medical workers in Wuhan, China dealing with the 2019 novel coronavirus. The Lancet Psychiatry, 7(3), e14.

Ornell, F., Halpern, S. C., Kessler, F. H. P., & Narvaez, J. C. D. M. (2020). The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of healthcare professionals. Cadernos de Saúde Pública, 36(4), e00063520.

Pappa, S., Ntella, V., Giannakas, T., Giannakoulis, V. G., Papoutsi, E., & Katsaounou, P. (2020). Prevalence of depression, anxiety, and insomnia among healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Brain, behavior, and immunity, 88, 901-907.

Que, J., Le Shi, J. D., Liu, J., Zhang, L., Wu, S., Gong, Y., ... & Ran, M. (2020). Psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare workers: a cross-sectional study in China. General psychiatry, 33(3), e100259. doi: 10.1136/gpsych-2020-100259

Shechter, A., Diaz, F., Moise, N., Anstey, D. E., Ye, S., Agarwal, S., ... & Claassen, J. (2020). Psychological distress, coping behaviors, and preferences for support among New York healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. General hospital psychiatry, 66, 1-8.

Spoorthy, M. S., Pratapa, S. K., & Mahant, S. (2020). Mental health problems faced by healthcare workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic–A review. Asian journal of psychiatry, 51, 102119.

Torales, J., O’Higgins, M., Castaldelli-Maia, J. M., & Ventriglio, A. (2020). The outbreak of COVID-19 coronavirus and its impact on global mental health. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 66(4), 317-320.

Wu, W., Zhang, Y., Wang, P., Zhang, L., Wang, G., Lei, G., ... & Huang, F. (2020). Psychological stress of medical staffs during outbreak of COVID?19 and adjustment strategy. Journal of Medical Virology, 92, 1962-1970.


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