The impacts of COVID-19 on Yukon's frontline healthcare workers

Photo for COVID research pageYukonU’s Health Research Chair is investigating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on frontline healthcare workers in the Territory. The healthcare workforce is the backbone of a safe and effective healthcare system. Understanding the issues affecting our workforce is vital for improving service delivery, patient experiences and health outcomes.

Project description

In the context of Northern Canadian Healthcare, limited personnel and resources make it difficult to offer a wide array of services that meet individuals’ needs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, frontline healthcare workers across Canada, and the world, have struggled to deliver quality services. In the Yukon, demands for services with increases in cases/waves of COVID-19 have pushed an already struggling system to the brink.

Nurses and physicians who worked during the pandemic (January 2020 to present) were recruited for this study. Recruitment was limited to these two professions as they work across the spectrum of health care, specifically in critical care and ICU where COVID-19 pressures have been most evident. We understand that nurses and doctors are not the only health professions affected by the pandemic and we recognize that the perceptions of allied health professionals and other care staff are very important.

This study consists of two phases. Phase 1 involves an online survey measuring burnout (or exhaustion) in participants. Phase 2 involves semi-structured interviews to hear the voices of healthcare workers. The primary objective is to reveal the specific challenges and stressors faced by staff as well as opportunities, provided during the pandemic, to improve health services in the Yukon.

This project began in June 2022 and will be completed in March 2023. Findings will help inform employers, managers, and policymakers on the need to support frontline healthcare workers so that they may enjoy improved job satisfaction and provide high quality care.

Project team
  • Dr. Liris Smith, Project Director/Principal Applicant, Health Research Chair, YukonU Research Centre
  • Dr. Michelle Leach, Co-applicant and sex and gender champion, YukonU Research Centre, SPOR SUPPORT Unit
  • Mark Christopher, Research Assistant, YukonU Research Centre, SPOR SUPPORT Unit.
Project partners and funders

Yukon Medical Association
Yukon Registered Nurses Association

Yukon Licensed Practical Nurses Association

Two People With Lived Experience
Government of Yukon, Department of Health and Social Services
Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) - SPOR