Global and local trends affecting the experience of US and UK healthcare professionals during COVID-19: Twitter text analysis

Ortal Slobodin, Ilia Plochotnikov, Idan-Chaim Cohen, Aviad Elyashar, Odeya Cohen, Rami Puzis

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19 (11), 6895, 2022

Background Healthcare professionals (HCPs) are on the frontline of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent reports have indicated that, in addition to facing an increased risk of being infected by the virus, HCPs face an increased risk of suffering from emotional difficulties associated with the pandemic. Therefore, understanding HCPs’ experiences and emotional displays during emergencies is a critical aspect of increasing the surge capacity of communities and nations. Methods In this study, we analyzed posts published by HCPs on Twitter to infer the content of discourse and emotions of the HCPs in the United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK), before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The tweets of 25,207 users were analyzed using natural language processing (NLP). Results Our results indicate that HCPs in the two countries experienced common health, social, and political issues related to the pandemic, reflected in their discussion topics, sentiments, and emotional display. However, the experiences of HCPs in the two countries are also subject to local socio-political trends, as well as cultural norms regarding emotional display. Conclusions Our results support the potential of utilizing Twitter discourse to monitor and predict public health responses in emergencies.