Psychosocial support for providers working high-risk exposure settings during a pandemic: A critical discussion

Publication Date


UMMS Affiliation

Graduate School of Nursing

Document Type



Health Services Administration | Infectious Disease | International Public Health | Mental and Social Health | Nursing | Psychiatry and Psychology | Psychology


Psychological first aid is a form of support designed to lessen disaster-related distress. In a pandemic, providers may need such support but with the high risk of exposure, such a program is offered only virtually. The research is scant for traditional post-disaster support and non-existent for virtual; therefore, by using related research this discussion considers the likelihood of providers accessing and benefiting from this program. The virtual platform is heralded as the responsible way to provide support in a pandemic but this standard may be ineffective and is inherently inequitable. As a global event, pandemics require containment strategies applicable on an international level; therefore, psychosocial support should also be developed with an international audience in mind. Online psychosocial support falls short of being such a strategy as it incorrectly assumes global internet access. Many low-income areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa will need support strategies which compliment local frontline staff and fit with community-driven initiatives, whereas wealthier countries may use a combination of onsite and online support. Provider psychosocial support needs in a pandemic, if articulated, are globally similar but how this support is offered requires contextually sensitive considerations not yet found in the literature.


healthcare providers, pandemics, COVID-19, post-trauma, psychological first aid, stress disorder, traumatic distress

DOI of Published Version



Plasse MJ. Psychosocial support for providers working high-risk exposure settings during a pandemic: A critical discussion. Nurs Inq. 2020 Dec 31:e12399. doi: 10.1111/nin.12399. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33382522; PMCID: PMC7883264. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Nursing inquiry

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID