The lived experience of health communication professionals during the Covid 19 pandemic

Anne Gregory, Bill Nichols, John Underwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This research explores approaches to, impacts of and reflections on the Covid 19 pandemic for professional communicators in the English National Health Service. It was undertaken in order to understand and analyse their lived experience and make recommendations for improving future system-wide performance.
Design method/approach: Given the work pressure and additional commitments that communication practitioners have when working in crisis, the researchers chose a single data collection method. Qualitative and quantitative data collection was undertaken using an extensive self-completion survey instrument.
Findings: Ten distinct themes covering four time phases: crisis preparedness, entering the crisis, pandemic peak and post ‘first-wave’ are discussed. They examine crisis readiness, to shifts in priorities and communication approaches to system-wide leadership and integration and the re-positioning of communication as a central player in pandemics.
Implications: The research outlines a number of areas for improvement along with practical recommendations for actions in the health system in readiness for future pandemics.
Originality: This is the first time the lived experience of communicators working through a pandemic at all levels in a national health system has been researched in the public relations literature.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Communication Management
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 9 Mar 2021

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