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Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic’s first wave required considerable adaptation efforts on the part of healthcare workers. The literature on resilient healthcare describes how the collective regulation strategies implemented by frontline employees make essential contributions to institutions’ abilities to cope with major crises. The present mixed-methodology study was thus conducted among a large sample of employees in a variety of Swiss healthcare institutions and focused on problematic real-world situations experienced by them and their managers during the pandemic’s first wave. It highlighted the anticipatory and adaptive strategies implemented by institutions, teams and individuals. The most frequently cited problematic situations involved organisational changes, interpersonal conflicts and workloads. In addition to the numerous top-down measures implemented by institutions, respondents also identified personal or team regulation strategies such as increasing staff flexibility, prioritising tasks, interprofessional collaboration, peer support or creating new communication channels to families. The present findings underlined the importance of taking greater account of healthcare support staff and strengthening managerial capacity to support interprofessional teams including those support staff.

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