Objective: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak is currently ravaging the world and is a major threat to public health. Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at a high risk of acquiring and transmitting COVID-19. Hence, HCWs are also experiencing emotional and behavioral changes. The purpose of this study was to compare emotional changes and stress between occupations and to investigate the impact of emotions of HCWs during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Methods: An anonymous, self-administered, previously validated questionnaire was given to HCWs at a hospital dedicated to infectious diseases in Korea during the COVID-19 outbreak. The participants were asked to evaluate stress factors, depressive moods, trauma, reasons for continuing to work, things that helped them work, coping strategies to reduce stress, motivators that could help them work during future outbreaks, and what they would like to do after the outbreak was over.
Results: The total number of participants was 400. The average age of participants was 34.69±9.44. Stress and depressive moods showed variations in the job-to-job comparisons. Ethical duty and the professionalism of the HCWs pushed them to continue with their jobs. The news of a decline in the number of patients was helpful to HCWs. The implementation of personal hygiene programs helped in reducing stress. The provision of adequate personal protective equipment was a factor that would encourage them to work during any future outbreak. The participants wanted to go on a trip after the outbreak was over.
Conclusion: Our findings indicate that the COVID-19 outbreak had a significant emotional impact on HCWs. The concerns of HCWs may affect their work efficiency in an outbreak and should be addressed by incorporating appropriate management strategies while planning to combat an outbreak.