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RESEARCH QUESTION: The COVID-19 crisis forces hospitals and their professionals to cope with complex and unprecedented problems on a daily basis. This requires them to rapidly adapt without clear guidelines of which adaptations are effective or how to implement them. This can be detrimental, particularly for the long-term well-being and functioning of the healthcare workforce. We therefore question (1) what dynamic capabilities are needed by healthcare organizations to successfully adapt as the COVID-19 crisis unfolds, and (2) how adaptations affect healthcare professionals and their long-term functioning and recovery processes.

 

URGENCY: Reports already indicate detrimental effects of rapid adaptations during the crisis, including threatened financial stability of organizations and jeopardized physical and mental health of professionals. If organizations do not learn how to quickly harness dynamic capabilities and make sustainable adaptations, the healthcare sector will face increased labor shortages, drop out and burnout, severely threatening the continuity of care. Pre-existing shortages make the issue all the more crucial. Our research will identify and disseminate best practices that help healthcare organizations throughout the country to successfully cope with the uncertainty of the crisis’ development.

 

ACTION PLAN: We propose a mixed-method study of the COVID-19 related adaptations by hospitals and their effects on the organizations and their employees. The project includes; a.) a qualitative study of the adaptations of all five hospitals in the Limburg (participation confirmed via the ROAZ Limburg) and their effects; b) a quantitative study linking (characteristics of) these adaptations to day-to-day recovery processes and long-term functioning of frontline specialists, residents (i.e. specialists in training), and nurses; and c) national dissemination of best practices with the NVZ and NFU via regional symposia and a national implementation guide.

 

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