1 Klaipeda University (LITHUANIA)
2 LCC International University (LITHUANIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2021 Proceedings
Publication year: 2021
Pages: 7488-7495
ISBN: 978-84-09-27666-0
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2021.1503
Conference name: 15th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-9 March, 2021
Location: Online Conference
When responding to a pandemic, crisis can be viewed as an opportunity to use creativity to ‘recover better’: to create more sustainable and connected societies that implement innovative ideas to improve development [1]. Resilience in staff is a critical attribute of a strong health care system, following the 2014-15 West Africa Ebola epidemic. Now, the focus has shifted on COVID-19 and on the importance of resilience in the new pandemic situation. Resilience in relation to creativity means that an individual gets actively engaged in creative actions of reshaping intrinsic symbolic order. Creativity is one of the seven types of resilience; however, the role of creativity has not been sufficiently explored. The aim of the current study is to look into the experiences of public health specialists working in mobile COVID-19 testing stations and telephone hotlines during the pandemic in March-June 2020 and to gain insights into how creative thinking fosters resilience. Eleven female participants, with a mean age of 36, were interviewed online using a creative interviewing method, which involves finding unconventional ways to collect oral reports from respondents. Questions were based on Wolin and Wolin’s mandala of resiliency encompassing seven ‘strengths’: creativity, insight, initiative, independence, relationship, humor, and morality [4]. Participants responded to questions, for example, “Please tell about the funniest thing that happened to you. What are superpowers would you like to use in the current situation? What animal would you choose as your assistant and why?” Content analysis was used to analyze data. Results indicate the importance of such strengths as imagination, humor, meaningfulness, insight, etc., which in turn promote social resilience. Being flexible, supporting each other as a team, and finding ways to relax after work were all helpful techniques too. Creative thinking allowed the participants to perceive work stress as a challenge, and not as a threat. Our study confirmed that constructed ‘meaningful stress’ involved creative thinking as a way of dealing with challenges. The results of the current study are consistent with theoretical frameworks that relate creativity with stressful situations, termed as the phenomenon of ‘creativity under the gun’. High-pressure days still yield creativity, are full of focus and meaningful urgency, and people feel like they are on a mission [5].

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Public health, pandemic, resilience, creativity.