Objectives: This study explored the experiences of clinical academics during the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim was to identify challenges and benefits associated with returning to, or increasing hours at, the clinical frontline.
Design: Qualitative data were gathered from a combination of written responses to questions posed in an email and 10 semi-structured interviews between May and September 2020.
Setting: Two higher education institutions and three NHS Trusts in the East Midlands of England.
Participants: Written responses were received from 34 clinical academics including doctors, nurses, midwives and allied health professionals. A further 10 participants were interviewed either by telephone or online, via Microsoft Teams.
Results: Participants described challenges experienced in returning full-time to the clinical frontline. These included having to refresh or learn new skills and the pressure of managing the competing priorities of NHS and higher education institutions. Benefits of being on the frontline included having the confidence and flexibility to deal with an evolving situation. Also, the ability to quickly assess and communicate the latest research and guidance to colleagues and patients. In addition, participants reported identifying areas for research during this time.
Conclusion: Clinical academics can contribute their knowledge and skills to frontline patient care in times of pandemic. It is therefore important to ease that process in preparation for potential future pandemics.
Trusson, D., Rowley, E., & Bramley, L. (2023). Clinical academics’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic: a qualitative study of challenges and opportunities when working at the clinical frontline. BMJ Leader, https://doi.org/10.1136/leader-2020-000414