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

Anne Gregory, Bill Nichols, John Underwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


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/methodology/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.
Practical 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/value – 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
Pages (from-to)105-124
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Communication Management
Issue number2
Early online date29 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2021


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