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Health Professional Frontline Leaders’ Experiences During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Cross-Sectional Study

Authors Hølge-Hazelton B, Kjerholt M, Rosted E, Thestrup Hansen S, Zacho Borre L, McCormack B

Received 19 October 2020

Accepted for publication 14 December 2020

Published 19 January 2021 Volume 2021:13 Pages 7—18


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Russell Taichman

Bibi Hølge-Hazelton,1,2 Mette Kjerholt,3 Elizabeth Rosted,2,4 Stine Thestrup Hansen,5 Line Zacho Borre,1 Brendan McCormack6

1Research Support Unit, Zealand University Hospital, Roskilde 4000, Denmark; 2Department of Regional Health Research, University of Southern Denmark, Odense C 5000, Denmark; 3Department of Hematology, Zealand University Hospital, Roskilde 4000, Denmark; 4Department of Oncology and Palliative Care, Zealand University Hospital, Roskilde 4000, Denmark; 5Department of Plastic Surgery and Breast Surgery, Zealand University Hospital, Roskilde 4000, Denmark; 6Centre for Person-Centred Practice Research, Queen Margaret University Edinburgh, Musselburgh, East Lothian EH21 6UU, UK

Correspondence: Bibi Hølge-Hazelton
Zealand University Hospital, Research Support Unit, Munkesøvej 14, Roskilde 4000, Denmark
Tel +45 27124286

Purpose: The aim was to identify the differences in experiences of Danish healthcare leaders in the beginnning of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and to generate knowledge for future leadership during and post crises.
Background: The global spread of COVID-19 has affected healthcare systems worldwide and has forced healthcare leaders to face challenges few were prepared for. It is expected that the pandemic may hit in several waves within the next year and therefore healthcare leaders must be prepared for these waves.
Methods: An online survey was developed, and comparative analyses were performed.
Results: One hundred and sixty hospital leaders were invited, and 72% completed the questionnaire. Significant differences were found within three selected characteristics: 1) Management level: significantly more heads of departments experienced taking complex decisions (P=0.05), being able to work in a way consistent with their beliefs and values (P=0.05), and they were less likely to experience that collaboration with other leaders was adversely affected by the COVID-19 situation compared to ward managers (P=0.04). On the other hand, ward managers were significantly more often worried about both their own health (P=0.01) and their family’s health (P=0.04). 2) Management education: those with a formal management education more often experienced having the managerial competences to effectively manage the COVID-19 situation (P=0.00), and performing meaningful tasks during the situation (P=0.04). 3) Years of experience: significantly more leaders with more than five years of experience identified having the managerial competences to effectively manage the situation (P=0.01).
Conclusion: Leadership support during a healthcare crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic should strategically focus on ward managers, leaders with no formal management education and leaders with less than two years of experience. Hospital leaders may use this knowledge to re-contextualize what is already known about targeted leadership support during healthcare crises and to act accordingly.

Keywords: assessment, clinical leadership, management, communication

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