This project had 2 phases beginning with an online survey followed by in-depth interviews. In phase 1, a total of 141 HC workers completed the Copenhagen Burnout Inventory which measures burnout across three categories: personal, work, and client-related burnout. The results revealed high levels of personal and work-related burnout, with lower levels of client-related burnout across the board. Nurses and female respondents experienced the highest level of burnout across all categories. Interestingly, community HC workers reported slightly higher levels of client-related burnout compared to those in Whitehorse.

In phase 2 of the project, we conducted follow-up interviews with 38 frontline HC workers to explore their individual perspectives and identify the supports that HC workers deem necessary to mitigate burnout, workplace stressors and strengthen their response to future health emergencies or pandemics. We are excited to co-author this paper with representatives from the Yukon Medical Association (YMA), Yukon Registered Nurses Association (YRNA), Yukon Licensed Practical Nurses Association (YLPNA) and 2 People with Lived Experienced (PWLE).

An advisory committee comprised of representative from the Yukon Medical Association (YMA), Yukon Registered Nurses Association (YRNA), Yukon Licensed Practical Nurses Association (YLPNA) and 2 People with Lived Experienced (PWLE) supported both phases of the project. Collaborating with the advisors from professional organizations, as well as patient partners grounded the philosophy of patient-oriented research (POR) into this project. The perspectives of those directly affected by the pandemic was incorporated into the research as the advisors informed interview questions, ensuring the impacts of pandemic-related challenges on various domains in participants’ lives were reflected in the transcripts. Advisors drew from personal experiences and conversations with colleagues to help generate a list of questions that stimulated thorough responses, strengthening the quality of our data. The advisors also assisted with thematic analysis of data, ensuring that the participants’ voices were truly heard.

YSPOR is committed to demonstrating our patient-oriented research philosophy and ensuring research findings are brought back to communities and decision-makers. The research team has been working hard to promote knowledge translation and mobilization. Our research assistant, Mark Christopher presented the burnout survey findings at two events in March 2023. The first presentation was at Northern Research Days, an event co-hosted by the University of Alberta and Yukon University. Next, he presented at the YukonU Student’s Symposium, an event organized by the students of LEAD401, a fourth-year capstone business course. The phase 1 results were published in an open-access journal called the Arctic Yearbook, in a special volume focused on arctic pandemics and lessons learned from COVID-19.  Mark and YukonU’s Research Chair in Health, Dr. Liris Smith, presented the phase 2 findings at the Yukon Government’s COVID-19 Recovery Research Program Summit in June, 2023. They also presented the findings at a meeting with several policymakers from the Yukon government’s department of health and social services.  This project has also received tremendous media coverage. Liris shared the findings during an interview with Elyn Jones on the CBC Yukon Morning show and featured in a CBC news article Pandemic worsened stress on northern health care workers: Yukon University report. Publication of the phase 2 results is underway. We look forward to sharing our results at more YSPOR events including the Health Summit November 15th and 16th, 2023.

We are grateful for the funding provided by the YG Covid Recovery Grant. We are also thankful to Yukon government Department of Health and Social Services, the Yukon Hospital Corporation, the YMA, YRNA and YLPNA for their support throughout this project.