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Looking after the emergency medicine workforce: lessons from the pandemic
  1. Adrian A Boyle1,
  2. Saurav Bhardwaj2
  1. 1 Emergency Department, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, UK
  2. 2 Emergency Department, Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust, Wolverhampton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Adrian A Boyle, Emergency Department, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge CB2 2QQ, UK; adrian.boyle{at}

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In this month’s EMJ, there are two reports looking at the well-being of emergency medicine staff during the early stages of the pandemic.1 2 These are both small qualitative studies, one from Canada and one from the USA, but the findings will resonate with many clinicians worldwide. The authors have performed a useful service to document and archive their findings to inform better responses in future pandemics. This qualitative research compliments existing quantitative work.3

Data collection was at the beginning of the pandemic, where the great uncertainty about the course was a trigger for all sorts of anxiety. There are a number of factors causing staff distress that will have been common to everyone, such as collapsing childcare and health anxiety. There are factors related to working in healthcare, such uncertainty about personal protective equipment, bringing COVID-19 home and compromising care. However, the factors specific to emergency medicine are the most valuable. It is clear that many residents felt their education and development was hindered by the pandemic, partly because the service demands fluctuated wildly, but also the time and ability to engage in peer support activities was …

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  • Twitter @dradrianboyle, @Saurav bhardwaj@bsaurav2

  • AAB and SB contributed equally.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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