Date of Award

Spring 5-20-2023

Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Health Administration


College of Health Professions

First Advisor

Jami Jones

Second Advisor

Jillian Harvey

Third Advisor

Brian Wiggs


Objective: With many studies revealing that the pandemic created stress and burnout for physicians and nurses, these same stressors could have created mental and emotional challenges for the Infection Prevention staff at healthcare institutions. Efforts are needed to better understand the stress, anxiety, and burnout-related experiences that the pandemic created for these team members who worked in the greater Houston area between March 2020-September 2022.

Methods: This qualitative study used focus group sessions to obtain data. Two sessions were held in person and two sessions were hosted virtually. All sessions were audio recorded and transcribed. The transcripts were coded using Nvivo software. The general inductive approach as described by Thomas (2006) was the methodology used to develop the thematic framework from the data.

Results: A total of eleven codes were densely represented across all four sessions. From the eleven codes, four themes emerged to help set the framework for the results and serve as the outcome of the study. The four themes are as follows: (1) IP staff experienced drastic changes in their daily workflow, (2) IP staff experienced physiological symptoms and emotions, (3) IP staff supported the emotional state of the healthcare worker staff, and (4) IP staff felt organizational support but were not always direct recipients of appreciation efforts.

Conclusion: From the data we see a positive relationship between the impact of the work of the IP on the stress, anxiety, and burnout-related experiences during the pandemic. While the study participants contributed the change in workload to the feelings of stress, anxiety, and burnout, they also commented that the constant changes and the longevity of the pandemic exacerbated these feelings. In some cases, the IP staff developed physiological symptoms in response to the stress. In addition to managing their workload, they also commented that they were thrust into managing the emotions of the staff caring for the patients.


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