Megan Koster, department chair and clinical associate professor, and Kristen McHenry, assistant professor, both in the Department of Respiratory Care, published “Areas of work-life that contribute to burnout among higher education health science faculty and perception of institutional support” in the International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being.
This study aimed to identify how the faculty within health science fields at higher education institutions saw challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to give institutions the opportunity to learn how to better support faculty. Full-time faculty members were to answer two free-answer questions, and of the 39 responses received, three major themes were discovered. These themes were work-life imbalances, stress and unwellness, and unmet support needs.
The results of the study showed that faculty felt they could be more supported by more workload management, administrative support, and wellness opportunities such as access to the on-campus recreation center and more administration-approved personal time. Other suggestions for improved support included more flexibility in scheduling, better communication between faculty and administrators, and being provided tips and suggestions for managing workloads.
This study allowed people who work in hospitals and clinics and teach health sciences students to be honest about their experiences working during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a space to make suggestions to ensure that this level of stress isn’t reached again. The authors of the study hope the results will hopefully give administrators tools to better support and appreciate those workers.