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J Korean Soc Emerg Med > Volume 33(4 Suppl.); 2022 > Article
Journal of The Korean Society of Emergency Medicine 2022;33(4 Suppl.): 67-75.
The work and socioeconomic burden of emergency physicians in the COVID-19 pandemic: 2020 Korean Emergency Physician Survey
In Hwan Yeo1 , Mi Jin Lee1 , Tae Jin Sim1 , Hyung Min Lee2 , Kwang Hyun Cho3 , In Byung Kim4 , Yoo Sang Yoon5 , Kyung Hye Park6,7 , Song Yi Park8 , Hong Jae Kim9 , Dong Hoon Key10 , Beom Sok Seo11 , Young Min Joo12 , Chang Gun Jee13 , Suk Jae Choi14 , Ji Hun Kang5 , Woo Jin Jung7 , Dae Sung Lim15 , Eu Sun Lee16
1Department of Emergency Medicine, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea
2Department of Emergency Medicine, Kyung Hee University Hospital, Seoul, Korea
3Department of Emergency Medicine, Nowon Eulji Medical Center, Eulji University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
4Department of Emergency Medicine, Myongji Hospital, Goyang, Korea
5Department of Emergency Medicine, Inje University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea
6Department of Medical Education, Yonsei University Wonju College of Medicine, Wonju, Korea
7Department of Emergency Medicine, Wonju Severance Christian Hospital, Wouju, Korea
8Department of Emergency Medicine, Dong-A University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea
9Department of Emergency Medicine, KS Hospital, Gwangju, Korea
10Department of Emergency Medicine, Yeouido St. Mary’s Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea
11Department of Emergency Medicine, Soonchunhyang University Seoul Hospital, Seoul, Korea
12Department of Emergency Medicine, Korea University Guro Hospital, Seoul, Korea
13Department of Emergency Medicine, Yeosu Jeonnam Hospital, Yeosu, Korea
14Department of Emergency Medicine, Hwahong Hospital, Suwon, Korea
15Department of Emergency Medicine, Gyeongsang National University Changwon Hospital, Changwon, Korea
16Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Ulsan, Korea
Correspondence  Mi Jin Lee ,Tel: 053-420-6400, Fax: 053-428-2820, Email: emmam@knu.ac.kr,
Received: June 29, 2021; Revised: September 6, 2021   Accepted: September 9, 2021.  Published online: August 31, 2022.
This study evaluated the anxiety, work, and socioeconomic burden of emergency physicians (EP) during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in South Korea.
A cross-sectional observational study was conducted using data from the 2020 Korean Emergency Physician Survey that included the following domains: hospital resources of suspected COVID-19 patients, availability of personal protective equipment, levels of home and workplace anxiety, the severity of work burnout, identification of stressors, changes in personal environments, and measures to decrease stress/anxiety.
Totally, 855 eligible participants were enrolled in the study. A statistically significant deterioration was observed in response to decreased working income or an unstable employment situation (0.46±0.88 points). The median number of patients with confirmed COVID-19 was 2.72. The risk of infection during emergency department (ED) work was found to be significantly increased (P<0.01). Of the 751 respondents (91.4%) who reported patient contact during their survey phase, 516 (62.8%) reported having taken the COVID-19 reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction test. The major factors that affected worsening of the work burden were determined to be unsuitable inter-hospital transfer arrangements for febrile patients (3.46±1.06 before vs. 1.99±1.16 after the pandemic, P<0.01) and delayed consultation for patients with fever or respiratory symptoms in the ED (3.20±1.06 before vs. 2.66±1.10 after the pandemic, P<0.01).
During the peak phase, the COVID-19 pandemic induced substantial workplace and socioeconomic burdens for Korean EPs. The sustained impact of the pandemic on the wellness of EPs deserves further investigation to guide targeted interventions.
Key words: COVID-19; Stress; Quality of life; Emergency physician; Survey
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