January 18, 2023

Effect of COVID-19 added stress on infection preventionists’ wellbeing

Editor's Note

This study from Ohio State University researchers finds that infection preventionists (IPs) who worked shorter shifts and had more organizational wellness support had better wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of 926 IPs responded to a survey of Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) members.

Among the findings:

  • Few met guidelines for sleep (34.1%), physical activity (18.8%), and fruit and vegetable consumption (7.3%).
  • Rates of depression, anxiety, and burnout were 21.5%, 29.8%, and 65%, respectively.
  • Front-line and practicing IPs and IP administrators and directors had more negative mental health effects than those in other roles.
  • IPs with organizational wellness support were less likely to report negative effects.
  • IPs working 9 to 11 or more hours per day were more likely to report worsening physical and mental health.
  • There were no significant odds of negative pandemic effects on lifestyle behaviors between White and racial and ethnically diverse IPs.

The researchers conclude that APIC must continue to provide guidance on work cultures that promote IP wellbeing and fixing system issues known to cause burnout and other mental health problems.

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