Marlena Sokol Szawlowska 2Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology in Warsaw, Poland
Title: Psychologists' reactions and working conditions during all waves of COVID 19 in Poland. Prospective study
Introduction: The work of psychologists supporting society in crisis after the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic had to undergo urgent and radical changes. They experienced the same epidemic overload as the general population. There have been reports that the psychological consequences of such a situation may have consequences comparable even to doctors treating COVID 19. The aim of the study was to show trends in changes at work and psychologists' response to the pandemic.
Material and methods: Data were collected during five waves of the pandemic in Poland. The online questionnaire was posted on the website of the Polish Psychiatric Association, and the number of respondents decreased (I 341, II 123, III 118, IV 67, V 61).
Results: In the first wave, 60.4% of respondents worked with patients in a remote or hybrid mode of work (a decreasing trend, because in the fifth wave 26.3%). At the beginning of the pandemic, 77.7% of psychologists experienced stress of medium and high intensity (a decreasing trend, but still high values, because in the 5th wave 54.1%). The declaration of a change in the value system as a result of the pandemic was most strongly expressed during the third and fourth waves (approx. 55%), then this trend dropped to 44.3%. However, the level of anticipating changes/deterioration in one's professional life increased systematically up to 67.2% of respondents in the last wave of the pandemic in Poland.
Conclusions: Psychologists quickly adapted to the restrictions introduced after the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic. They have replaced in person meetings with remote or hybrid ones. At the end of the pandemic, some returned to their previous way of working. Hybrid work remained in clinical practice. Most of the respondents' fears related to the pandemic disappeared after the third wave. At the same time, however, there was a growing feeling that the pandemic would worsen/change their work. The level of subjectively experienced stress in the last wave was still alarmingly high, which may result in burnout. Further research and prevention of burnout are necessary.
Keywords: psychologists; COVID 19 pandemic; working conditions; burnout
Marlena Sokół-Szawłowska - doctor of medical sciences, works at the Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology in Warsaw, Poland, her clinical and scientific interests include affective diseases and the development of new ones technology in psychiatry. She works for the European Alliance Against Depression - she conducts training for various professional groups - suicide prevention. She is the co-author or author of numerous articles and 5 books in the field of psychiatry: Don't be afraid of the psychiatrist (2017), Depression, with a subchapter on the COVID-19 pandemic (2021), Suicide Prevention, with a subchapter on the pandemic COVID-19 (2021), Burnout (2023), Bipolar Disorder (2023).