Continuing to work through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond: an examination of mental wellbeing, burnout, work-related quality of life and coping across the health and social care workforce

By Patricia Gillen, Paula McFadden

As lockdown is slowly getting lifted and restrictions begin to ease across the United Kingdom, it is important that our health and social care workforce are fully supported and have access to appropriate services and resources. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen many health and social care services overwhelmed which has led to increased and sustained pressure and stress for health and social care staff. Staff have been redeployed and had to quickly adapt new ways of working with patients, service users and each other while coping with the challenges of changes in home life including home schooling and caring responsibilities.

We are conducting research to explore the health and wellbeing of nurses, midwives, Allied Healthcare Professional’s (AHPs), social workers, social care workers, in UK during the Pandemic to formulate recommendations for improvements.

Previous findings

The results of the surveys conducted in Phase 1 (May-July 2020) and Phase 2 (Nov 2020-Jan 2021), showed that overall well-being and work-related quality of life decreased across the health and social care workforce during the pandemic. Findings demonstrated that respondents used more negative coping strategies (e.g. venting, self-blame) to deal with increased work-related stressors in comparison to positive coping strategies (active coping, planning, emotional support). In Phase 2, a large proportion of respondents experienced moderate- to high levels of personal burnout (74.7%) and work-related burnout (66.3.%).

Recommendations were suggested under three main themes that emerged from the data: Changing conditions, Connections and Communication. The full reports from the first and second surveys, including the Executive Summaries with Good Practice Guidance can be found on our website:

Current study phase

In the current phase 3 survey (May-July 2021) we will once again examine the quality of working life, mental well-being, burnout and coping of a nurses, midwives, AHPs, social care workers and social workers as they continue to deliver care and rebuilt 

services.  Our aim is to further explore how these factors have been changed over the last six months as the pandemic has continued and as restrictions begin to ease. The findings from this study will help provide data which employers can use to make evidence informed, organisational level policy adjustments to support the needs of the workforce during and post pandemic. 

If you are a nurse, midwife, AHP, social worker, social care worker, who is currently employed (this includes working as an agency/bank worker) or self-employed in the UK during the COVID -19 pandemic, please share your experiences with us by completing a short survey.  Please click on the survey link below or scan the QR code for further information on the study and the questionnaire to complete. This takes around 15 minutes to complete.

The survey opens on 10th May and will run until beginning of July 2021

For more information about this research project, please contact Paula McFadden on or Patricia Gillen on

The research team would like to thank all previous survey respondents and to all organisations across the UK that have promoted and contributed to this study.