What is it about?

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the mental health of healthcare workers. Nurses, who make up half of the global healthcare force, face many problems while caring for patients with COVID-19. As a result, they are more likely to develop depression and anxiety. The authors of this study conducted a survey to understand how COVID-19 affected the prevalence of depression and anxiety among nurses working at a public hospital in California. They also identified ways in which nurse leaders can reduce the stress faced by nursing staff. They found that most nurses experienced higher stress levels during the pandemic than in normal conditions. This caused clinical depression and anxiety among many nurses. A few nurses felt hesitant to care for patients with COVID-19. Female nurses also reported higher stress levels than male nurses. Nurses who worked for longer durations in stressful conditions, who had children, or who were sole earners in their families had higher overall anxiety than other nurses. Surprisingly, nurses who did not directly care for patients with COVID-19 had higher levels of depression and anxiety than nurses who did.

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Why is it important?

Nurses who are highly stressed may not provide good quality care to patients with COVID-19. To prevent this from happening, nurse leaders should develop plans to improve nurses’ mental health and prepare them for public health disasters. They should communicate clearly with nurses and give them access to therapy by mental health professionals. KEY TAKEAWAY: This study shows that nurses are at a higher risk of developing anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic. Updated trainings, clear communication among hospital staff, and solid plans to reduce stress can improve their mental health significantly.

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This page is a summary of: Depression and anxiety prevalence in nursing staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, Nursing Management, May 2021, Wolters Kluwer Health, DOI: 10.1097/01.numa.0000752784.86469.b9.
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