A researcher’s view: the importance of understanding wellbeing

In this post, Professor Karen Mattick from the University of Exeter gives a personal view on the importance of this study.

My interest in the study is three-fold: firstly, the opportunity to research something as important and timely as Covid-19; secondly, to extend our existing Exeter-based research on wellbeing and tolerance of ambiguity; and thirdly, the chance to collaborate with a national consortium of highly-regarded medical education researchers doing impactful work supported by the UK professional regulator.

The importance of the study is vital. Given the monumental changes to healthcare driven by Covid-19, it is vital that we evaluate the impact on healthcare professionals, both their WORK and their WELLBEING.  This project provides an opportunity to focus on one of most affected groups: new doctors graduating in 2020.

The opening sentence of a New England Journal of Medicine article by Pfefferbaum & North in April 2020 reads “Uncertain prognoses, looming severe shortages of resources for testing and treatment and for protecting responders and health care providers from infection, imposition of unfamiliar public health measures that infringe on personal freedoms, large and growing financial losses, and conflicting messages from authorities are among the major stressors that undoubtedly will contribute to widespread emotional distress and increased risk for psychiatric illness associated with Covid-19”.  Our project provides an opportunity to focus on a group which may be one of the most affected by all this uncertainty: new doctors graduating in 2020.  

Early data analysis is already providing intriguing insights into the experiences of new medical graduates during Covid and we look forward to sharing those in coming months.

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