RIT studying impacts of pandemic on local healthcare workers

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Researchers at RIT want to take a deeper look at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare workers in our community.

They are currently interviewing health care workers to explore the specific impacts they faced during the pandemic and how those challenges have changed both their personal and professional lives moving forward. 

Anthony Jimenez, an assistant professor in RIT’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology and a trained medical sociologist is leading the study.

“I’m speaking with physician’s assistants, doctors, nurses, folks who do surgeries, midwives,” Jimenez explains.

He says most of those who have participated in the study so far are doing so in hopes that it will trigger some systemic changes.

“They (healthcare workers) want support in terms of staff, they want support in terms of sort of the larger social sphere, they want people to trust them again,” says Jimenez. 

While the pandemic caused an already present staffing shortage to get even worse, many of the healthcare workers have indicated the long term effects of it are making they reconsider the healthcare field.

“Some folks mention money as sort of a consideration but that’s definitely from what I’ve found in my research, that’s not the driving consideration of whether to stay,” says Jimenez. “They’re not asking for ways to be more resilient in this structure. They’re asking for ways to change the system, ways to actually make the conditions better so they don’t have to be ‘heroes’ that have to put themselves out there and sort of take on these ongoing challenges.”

Jimenez is hoping the final report he issues will help push health systems and lawmakers to look at different ways to take care of the community without making current healthcare workers shoulder the increasing weight. 

RIT is actively recruiting health practitioners from the Rochester region who are interested in sharing their stories for the project. Those interested are invited to email: amjgss@rit.edu or call: 585-475-4768.