First Study from India, exploring Resilience of Frontline Physician during the Pandemic

By Sana Ahmed

Photo: United Nations

The year 2020 had all of us go through unprecedented times in more than one way. Corona cases have started to rise again as second wave and some of the states have started imposing lockdown again. But another important aspect that cannot be ignored is that the risks to frontline healthcare workers have also increased during the pandemic and they are more likely to experience stress. The research publish in Frontline in Psychology, shows the frontline health workers are also vulnerable to depression, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress and insomnia.

In the study, a qualitative approach was used with a constructivist paradigm by Dr Debanjan Banerjee associated with NIMHANS, T. S. Sathyanarayana Rao, Abraham Kallivayalil and Afzal Javed. This study was done in collaborative effort between a socio-demographically heterogeneous population of 172 physicians working in COVID-designated centres were purposively sampled from all over India. In-depth virtual interviews were done.

The research took around 5 months to complete (April – August 2020) of which the first two months was spent on data collection extensively. This research was done during complete lockdown and hence all the interviews taken for this research has been done virtually. This was the first study from India exploring resilience of frontline physicians during the pandemic.

Speaking to News Sense, Dr. Debanjan Banerjee said “A lot of research in this country goes on numbers but this research tries to change that by including the voices of the physicians so that everyone knows what they are going through and what requirements to combat those are.

This research helped in understanding the Fear of infection, uncertainty, stigma, guilt, and social isolation that all the frontline healthcare workers were going through. The role of mental well-being, social network, peer support, problem negotiation, and self-care emerged as the key coping strategies. The aim of this study was also to help the unheard voices of these frontline health workers to reach the masses.

Healthcare workers play very important role in our societies and because of COVID- 19 these healthcare workers had to go through a lot of mental and physical struggle. Despite having the risk of containing the disease or it being transmitted to their kith and kins, they have shown Resilience.