BackgroundThe COVID-19 pandemic has changed the healthcare landscape drastically. Stricken by sharp surges in morbidity and mortality with resource and manpower shortages confounding their efforts, the medical community has witnessed high rates of burnout and post-traumatic stress amongst themselves. Whilst the prevailing literature has offered glimpses into their professional war, no review thus far has collated the deeply personal reflections of physicians and ascertained how their self-concept, self-esteem and perceived self-worth has altered during this crisis. Without adequate intervention, this may have profound effects on their mental and physical health, personal relationships and professional efficacy.MethodsWith mentions of the coronavirus pervading social media by the millions, this paper set out to collate and thematically analyse social media posts containing first-person physician reflections on how COVID-19 affected their lives and their coping mechanisms. A consistent search strategy was employed and a PRISMA flowchart was used to map out the inclusion/exclusion criteria.ResultsA total of 590 social media posts were screened, 511 evaluated, and 108 included for analysis. Salient themes identified include Disruptions to Personal Psycho-Emotional State, Disruptions to Professional Care Delivery, Concern for Family, Response from Institution, Response from Society and Coping Mechanisms.ConclusionIt is evident that the distress experienced by physicians during this time has been manifold, multi-faceted and dominantly negative. Self-concepts were distorted with weakened self-esteem and perceived self-worth observed. The Ring Theory of Personhood was adopted to explain COVID-19’s impact on physician personhood as it considers existential, individual, relational and social concepts of the self. These entwined self-concepts serve as ‘compensatory’ to one another, with coping mechanisms buffering and fortifying the physician’s overall personhood. With healthcare institutions playing a vital role in providing timely and targeted support, it was further proposed that a comprehensive assessment tool based on the RToP could be developed to detect at-risk physicians and evaluate the presence and effectiveness of established support structures.
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DOI 10.1186/s13010-021-00113-x
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References found in this work BETA

Autonomy and Long-Term Care.George J. Agich - 1993 - Oxford University Press.
The Moral Status of Post-Persons.Michael Hauskeller - 2013 - Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (2):76-77.
The Compensatory Nature of Personhood.Rayan Alsuwaigh & Lalit K. R. Krishna - 2014 - Asian Bioethics Review 6 (4):332-342.

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