Psychological wellness of internal medicine hospitalists during the COVID-19 pandemic

Sagar B. Dugani, Holly L. Geyer, Michael J. Maniaci, Karen M. Fischer, Ivana T. Croghan, M. Caroline Burton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Patients with COVID-19 infection requiring in-hospital care are frequently managed by Internal Medicine hospitalists, comprised of physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. There is sparse information on the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Internal Medicine hospitalists. Methods: We surveyed Internal Medicine hospitalists at Mayo Clinic sites in four states (Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, and Wisconsin). We collected demographic information, and used Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS®) measures to assess global well-being, anxiety, social isolation, and emotional support. Descriptive statistics were used to compare responses between two periods: prior to the pandemic (before March 15th, 2020), and during the pandemic (March 15 through 30 April 2020). The survey was conducted from May 4–25, 2020. Results: Of 295 Internal Medicine hospitalists, 154 (52%) responded. Fifty-six percent were women (n = 85/154) and 54% were physicians (n = 84/154). Most hospitalists (75%; n = 115/154) reported concerns about contracting COVID-19 infection at work, and 5% (n = 8/154) reported changing where they lived during the pandemic. Most hospitalists (73%; n = 112/154) reported relying primarily on institutional resources for COVID-19 information. During the pandemic, the percentage of participants with excellent or very good global well-being decreased (90% prior to pandemic vs. 53% during pandemic), with increases in mean anxiety (–4.88 [95% confidence interval,–5.61 to–4.16]; P<.001) and social isolation (–3.91[95% confidence interval,–4.68 to–3.13]; P<.001). During the same period, there was a small decrease in mean emotional support (1.46 [95% confidence interval, 0.83 to 2.09]; P<.001). Conclusion: During the COVID-19 pandemic, Internal Medicine hospitalists reported lower global well-being, higher anxiety and social isolation, and a small decrease in emotional support. These results provide a framework to develop programs to support hospitalists and potentially mitigate long-term psychological sequelae including burnout.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-55
Number of pages9
JournalHospital Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • COVID-19 infection
  • Hospital medicine
  • anxiety
  • emotional support
  • provider burnout
  • social isolation
  • well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Information Management
  • Medicine(all)
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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