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Oxford Brookes researchers to investigate experiences of NHS staff during Covid-19 pandemic

A team will look at how coronavirus has impacted on the performance, wellbeing, and future career plans of NHS workers.

Thousands of people redeployed to rapidly reinforce Intensive Care Units in response to the pandemic.

During the first wave in Spring 2020, 15,000 student doctors and student nurses, Armed Forces personnel and many volunteers, including retired personnel, were recruited into the NHS.

The researchers want to learn about the issues that could have impacted on their performance as a team, their individual well-being and their future career plans.

Personnel who worked, or who are currently working on COVID-19 wards, as well as senior managers and nursing and clinical directors will be interviewed as part of the study.

Professor of Psychology, Vincent Connelly, from Oxford Brookes University is the research lead for the project. He said: "The pandemic response has seen an unprecedented deployment of medical personnel, which is a true testament to the work ethic and resilience of those in the NHS. As such, COVID-19 has posed unique challenges for the successful development of teamwork and communication between team members and we are very interested in how team leaders and team members have responded to the challenge over the past year."

Dr Stefan Schilling, a Research Fellow at Oxford Brookes University said: "The ad-hoc and fluid nature of these teams and the restrictive nature of COVID-19 wards could undermine many of the well-known factors for successful teamwork and performance."

"For example, working in PPE not only risks stifling communication, but also inhibits those important watercooler moments which any team, but especially nurses and doctors working in such a high-stress environment, rely on to get to know each other, provide support and comfort, recharge and vent."

The experts are now seeking NHS personnel to take part in interviews and online surveys, for the 18-month project.

Academics from Oxford Brookes University's Psychology Department, the Oxford Institute of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Research (OxINMAHR), Robert Gordon University and King's College London are involved in the project, and are supported by the Florence Nightingale Foundation and the Faculty of Medical Leadership Management. 

The study is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council as part of UK Research and Innovation's rapid response to COVID-19.

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