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A study protocol outlining the development and evaluation of a training program for frontline managers on leading well-being and the psychosocial work environment in Danish hospital settings – a cluster randomized waitlist controlled trial

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Background: Hospital staff are often exposed to stressful psychosocial working conditions and report high levels of stress and burnout, which may negatively impact the safety of employees and patients. Managers hold unique knowledge of workplace conditions and needs of employees, but leadership interventions to improve the well-being of managers and employees in hospital settings are scarce. This study evaluates the effects of a leadership intervention based on a health-oriented leadership approach on the well-being and psychosocial work environment aspects of managers and employees. Methods/design: The study is designed as a randomized, waitlist-controlled trial with two groups (intervention and waitlist control group) and measurements at baseline, 6- and 12-month follow-up. We aim to include 200 frontline managers in Danish hospital settings and their approximately 5,000 employees. The leadership training comprises five full day modules and four smaller group-training sessions over a period of 5 months. The main aim is to improve stress, burnout, self-care, and perceived level of staff-care among managers and employees. Sickness absence will also be assessed at both manager and employee level. In addition, several psychosocial factors will be assessed at the employee level. A quantitative and qualitative process evaluation will also be conducted. Discussion: Action towards supporting the mental health of hospital employees is important to maintain a strong healthcare system. There is increasing recognition that best practice in workplace mental health requires an integrated approach that prevents harm and promotes positive mental health. There is also increasing understanding of the key role managers’ play in maintaining well-being within the workplace, however they often report a lack of knowledge and skills to promote employee mental health. The current leadership training program has been developed for frontline managers working in a hospital setting. The aim is to increase managers’ application of strategies to facilitate a healthy psychosocial work environment to benefit well-being and mental health among staff and managers themselves. Trial Registration: The study was retrospectively registered on November 21, 2022 in Clinical Trial.gov with identifier: NCT05623371.

Original languageEnglish
Article number848
JournalBMC Public Health
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

    Research areas

  • Burnout, Employees, Health-oriented leadership, Hospital staff, Job satisfaction, Leadership training, Managers, Self-care, Staff-care, Stress, Leadership, Burnout, Professional/prevention & control, Humans, Working Conditions, Mental Health, Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic, Denmark, Workplace/psychology

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