A total of 159 psychiatric trainees and early career psychiatrists responded to the survey. The majority (n=115, 72.3%) were female, were married (n=108, 67.9%), and had no children (n=108, 67.9%). They mostly had worked in inpatient psychiatric wards (n=96, 60.4%) and in outpatient psychiatric clinics or day wards (n=38, 23.9%), whereas the rest worked in individual private psychiatric practice (n=9, 5.7%), inpatient COVID-19 wards (n=12, 7.5%), and outpatient COVID-19 clinics (n=4, 2.4%). Table 1 details the sociodemographic data of the participants.
Several participants stated that they had received specific recommendations for early career psychiatrists involving educational activities (e.g., courses, workshops, local conferences) during the pandemic from national/regional authorities (n=36, 22.6%), the national psychiatric association (n=56, 35.2%), or other organizations (n=48, 30.1%). Yet, others (n=64, 40.2%) did not receive any recommendations. Less than half reported having access to general activities for all medical doctors (n=69, 43.3%) or access to specific activities dedicated to all psychiatrists (n=57, 35.8%), and a few had access to specific activities dedicated to early career psychiatrists (n=8, 5.0%). With relation to obligatory activities, the majority (n=124, 78.0%) stated that some but not all were converted to online activities, followed by 16.4% (n=26) who stated all were converted to online activities, 3.8% (n=6) who stated they were canceled with no online alternative offered, and 1.9% (n=3) who stated they were carried out as usual (in person). The pandemic mostly did not affect the duration of the participants’ training (n=103, 64.8%), but for a few it extended the duration of training (n=4, 2.5%), shortened the duration of training (n=14, 8.8%), or prevented them from taking the specialist exam as previously planned (N=5, 3.1%). Table 2 details participants’ COVID-19 knowledge and training.
Most participants (n=127, 79.9%) were not obliged by the authorities to change their workplace (Table 3), and more than half (n=88, 55.4%) were sufficiently provided with personal protective equipment by their medical facilities (e.g., hospital, clinic, university). More than half (n=89, 56.0%) did not have access to free COVID-19 tests or were not tested for COVID-19 (n=89, 56.0%). The majority (n=97, 61.0%) had been clinically diagnosed with COVID-19, and more than half (n=75, 47.2%) were quarantined.
Most (n=61, 38.4%) reported that their well-being had been affected rather negatively with increased stress, burnout, and health concerns, with some reporting a very negative impact (n=29, 18.2%). On the other hand, some reported a positive impact (n=35, 22.0%) or even a very positive impact (n=17, 10.7%), with increased resilience and increased sense of importance of their work. Some reported no significant impact (n=17, 10.7%).
For most (n=59, 37.1%), their supervisors and/or coworkers had no significant impact on their well-being (Table 4). Some (n=4, 2.5%) stated that their supervisors and/or coworkers had affected their well-being negatively or even rather negatively (n=22, 13.8%). Alternatively, some reported their impact as rather positive (n=53, 33.3%) or very positive (n=14, 8.8%). Almost half (n=78, 49.0%) did not have access to free psychological counselling, although some (n=51, 32.0%) received free psychological counselling provided/funded by their medical facility (e.g., hospital/clinic/university).
More than half (n=89, 56.0%) stated that they did not receive any recommendations on how to proceed with telepsychiatry (Table 5). The tools used ranged from a “dedicated closed platform for audiovisual communication in telemedicine” (n=29, 18.2%) to “general software for audiovisual communication (commonly used applications)” (n=90, 56.6%), “telephone or software for audio communication only” (n=43%, 27.0%), and “chat, text messages or e-mail” (n=5.6, 5.6%).