Brandon University researchers explore the facts and stories that matter to rural healthcare workers during COVID-19

June 22, 2021

One year after first surveying healthcare workers to explore the impact of Covid, Brandon University researchers are doing a follow-up survey to check in.

Dr. Rachel Herron

“We know that health care workers are facing a lot right now, and we are so grateful for the time and generosity from those who have already participated in our research.” said Dr. Herron the project lead. She stressed, “A lot has changed in the last year. We need to collect the facts and stories that matter most to health care workers at this time. It is critical to building a stronger healthcare system, better places to work, and better mental health.”

The research team and scope of the original project has expanded as the pandemic has continued. Members of the Centre for Critical Studies of Rural Mental Health at Brandon University, including Drs. Herron (Geography and Environment), Lawrence (Education), Newall (Psychology), Ramsey (Rural Development) and Professors Smith (Psychiatric Nursing), Pylypowich (Nursing), and Waddell (Psychiatric Nursing) as well as collaborator and Emergency Physician, Dr. Stacey Kitz have combined their expertise to develop research in response to current demands.

The original online survey of 137 healthcare workers was launched in May 2020 and explored the early influence of COVID-19 on their mental health. Researchers found that even before the surge of cases in late July, the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on healthcare workers. A year later, there are questions about how healthcare workers are doing now.

The research team is looking for more health care workers who are currently working in rural communities or rural service centres (Brandon) during COVID-19 to complete a 10-minute survey about their experiences and needs.

“We realize there are many competing demands for your time, but this brief 10-minute survey will enable us to collect valuable information and to follow-up for context,” said research collaborator Dr. Stacey Kitz.

The survey can be found at: www.surveymonkey.com/r/ruralhealthcare2021

This research aims to develop a better understanding of the mental health experiences and resource needs of rural health care workers during COVID-19. In addition, they hope to collect the stories and experiences that matter most to health care workers during COVID-19. With more survey response, the research team will be able to make evidence-based recommendations to improve working conditions and support the mental wellbeing of health care workers.

This research project is funded by the Canada Research Chairs Program and has been approved by the Brandon University Research Ethics Committee. Anyone interested in participating can visit the Centre website at www.centreforruralmentalhealth.com or contact Dr. Rachel Herron, Principal Investigator, Canada Research Chair in Rural and Remote Mental Health, Brandon University 204-727-9771, herronr@brandonu.ca