It’s not uncommon to see healthcare workers described as being “on the frontlines” of battling the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a militaristic analogy that hits closer to home than one might appreciate at first. According to an article just published by the Journal of General Internal Medicine, the potential for moral injury among healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic is very similar to rates seen in military veterans who saw action in post-9/11 conflicts. Based on data collected from the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Mid-Atlantic Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center and the Healthcare Worker Exposure Response and Outcomes registry, the study revealed that 46.1% of post-9/11 combat veterans and 50.7% of healthcare workers who cared for patients at the height of the pandemic experienced signs of “other-induced moral injury” (meaning being disturbed by immoral acts committed by others). The small gap was similar when it came to “self-induced potential moral injury,” with 24.1% of those veterans and 18.2% of the healthcare workers admitting that they were disturbed by their own behavior in the midst of those events. JUCM has published content on the severe effects of working during the pandemic for urgent care providers. The COVID-19 Pandemic Is Making Burnout Worse for Physicians Already in Crisis is available in our archive.
UC Providers in the Age of COVID Have a Lot in Common with Combat Vets—Like Moral Injury