The COVID-19 emergency has significantly transformed the working environment and job demands. Providing care was emotionally difficult for healthcare workers. Uncertainty, stigmatisation, and potentially exposing their families to infection were prominent themes for healthcare workers (HCWs) during the crisis, which first broke out in China at the end of 2019, and then in Italy in early 2020. This study examined the effects of stigma, job demands, and self-esteem, and the consequences of working as a “frontline care provider” with patients infected with the coronavirus (COVID-19). A correlational design study involved 260 healthcare workers (HCWs) working in a large hospital in southern Italy. The following questionnaires were administered: (1) the Job Content Questionnaire (JCQ), for assessing psychological and physical demands; (2) the Professional Quality of Life Scale (ProQOL) to measure the quality individuals feel in relation to their work as “frontline care providers”, through three dimensions: compassion fatigue (CF), burnout (BO), and compassion satisfaction (CS); (3) the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, for evaluating individual self-esteem; (4) a self-administered multiple-choice questionnaire developed by See et al. about attitudes of discrimination, acceptance, and fear towards HCWs exposed to COVID-19. The findings suggest that stigma has a high impact on workers’ outcomes. Stigma may influence worker compliance and can guide management communication strategies relating to pandemic risk for HCWs.
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