Reassurance & Practical Help for Healthcare Workers: Dealing with Work-Related Stress During COVID-19

Supervisor Assistance[1]

  • Supervisors should be able to trouble-shoot specific situations or circumstances which may be affecting you
  • Supervisors can be a great source of support in the workplace
  • Supervisors will likely be able to validate feelings, empathize, and help you to identify solutions
  • If you are unclear about something - ask! Communication and information are essential during the pandemic
  • Research articles during the COVID-19 pandemic have discussed the overall need for there to be transparent communication from leadership regarding expectations and guidelines, as well as support from supervisors regarding the availability of PPE, scheduling, breaks, and PTO
  • Supervisors are often needed to implement unit-wide, department-wide, or agency-wide programs which could be beneficial for staff. Examples could include:
    • Unit-wide processing after COVID-19 related death
    • Implementation of COVID-19 support groups

Coworker and Team Assistance[2]

  • Close colleagues are often the first to notice when a colleague is suffering, to hear about troubles at home, to to become aware of an unexpected patient event
  • Colleagues play important roles in providing support, reassurance, encouragement, and practical help in the workplace
  • Speak to a colleague about your experiences!
  • Observation, noticing, mutual support, and team building are essential during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Want to know how to assist coworkers? Use the 4 R’s
    • Recognize - be on the lookout for coworkers who may be showing signs of stress
    • Respond - make yourself available, provide support
    • Refer - connect coworkers to appropriate services
    • Revisit - check in with your coworker at a later time to see how they are doing


  1. Billings J, Abou Seif N, Hegarty S, et al. What support do frontline workers want? A qualitative study of health and social care workers' experiences and views of psychosocial support during the COVID-19 pandemic. PLoS One. 2021;16(9):e0256454.  [PMID:34473755]

  2. O’Hayer C, Nobleza D, Inch S, et al. Behavioral health for the front line: Lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. NEJM Catalyst Innovations in Care Delivery. 2021; 2(7):

Last updated: October 31, 2021