Hospital Staffing during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Sweden
Journal article, 2022

Staff management challenges in the healthcare system are inherently different during pandemic conditions than under normal circumstances. Surge capacity must be rapidly increased, particularly in the intensive care units (ICU), to handle the increased pressure, without depleting the rest of the system. In addition, sickness or fatigue among the staff can become a critical issue. This study explores the lessons learned by first- and second-line managers in Sweden with regard to staff management during the COVID-19 pandemic. A mixed-methods approach was used, with preliminary qualitative interview (n = 38) and principal quantitative questionnaire (n = 272) studies, based on principal component and multiple regression analyses. The results revealed that the pandemic created four types of challenges relating to staff management: staff movement within hospitals; addition of external staff; addition of hours for existing staff through overtime and new shift schedules; and avoidance of lost hours due to sickness or fatigue. Furthermore, the effects of these managerial challenges were different in the first wave than in later waves, and they significantly differed between the ICU and other units. Therefore, a greater proactive focus on staff management would be beneficial in future pandemic situations.

surge capacity

mixed method

hospital managers

hospital staffing

healthcare staffing

COVID-19 pandemic


Ritva Rosenbäck

University West

Björn Lantz

University West

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Innovation and R&D Management

Peter Rosén

University of Gothenburg

Healthcare (Switzerland)

22279032 (eISSN)

Vol. 10 10 2116

Subject Categories

Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy

Work Sciences






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