An iterative approach to promoting departmental wellbeing during COVID‐19 Academic Article uri icon

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  • Rationale, aims, and objectives

    Addressing wellbeing among learners, faculty, and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge for many clinical departments. Continued and systemic supports are needed to combat the pandemic's impact on mental health and wellbeing. This article describes an iterative approach to conducting a needs assessment and implementing a COVID-19-related wellness initiative in a psychiatry department.


    Development of the initiative followed the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) quality improvement cycle and was informed by Shanafelt and colleagues' framework for supporting healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Key features included the establishment of a Wellness Working Group, the curation of relevant resources on the Department's website, and the deployment of regular, monthly surveys that informed the creation of further supports, such as a weekly online drop-in support group.


    Survey response rates ranged from 22% to 32% (n = 90-127) throughout our initiative. Across multiple surveys, approximately 80% of respondents reported feeling supported or very supported by the Department, and 90% were satisfied or very satisfied with the quantity and quality of information provided. Our support group and resources page were accessed by nearly one-quarter and one-third of respondents, respectively, with satisfaction rates of 81% or higher. Consistent with the Department's mandate, ensuring equity was a key focus of the Working Group throughout its operations.


    There is potential for this model to be scaled to create a faculty-wide, institution-wide, or regional approach to addressing wellbeing. Other departments may also wish to adopt similar approaches to supporting their members during this challenging time.

publication date

  • February 2022