Psychological needs of critical care staff and barriers to accessing support: A qualitative study

Olivia Sutton, Elisabeth Norton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Worldwide, critical care staff are vulnerable to mental health difficulties. Support is
varied and uptake is minimal. Therefore, barriers need to be understood in order to be
addressed; doing so may improve staff's mental health, resulting in positive consequences. This qualitative research took place between September 2020–November
2020 at a National Health Service critical care unit in England. Participants were critical care staff (n = 9). Data were collected through semistructured interviews and analyzed using thematic analysis. The Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative
Studies (COREQ) was used to report the findings, with analysis resulting in six
themes: support is the team together in the moment, keeping work-related difficulties from the forefront of the mind, it's just part of the job, stigma makes it hard to
speak up about psychological difficulties, normalizing psychological support, and
desire for psychological support within critical care. Psychologist presence in critical
care, as well as further options for support, may help to reduce barriers and improve
staff mental health. Further research is needed to evaluate staff outcomes across
multiple sites to refine understanding and interventional approach.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNursing & Health Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2022

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