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Nurse mental health worsens, more seek care


More than half of nurses working in critical care said they were “not emotionally healthy,” according to a recent COVID-19 survey on mental health and wellness conducted by the American Nurses Foundation.

Of the 9,572 nurses surveyed, 75% of nurses across all roles said they felt “stressed,” and 10% said they felt “worthless.” Numbers were particularly worse among critical care nurses and younger nurses. Roughly 51% of nurses ages 25 to 34 reported feeling “not emotionally healthy,” according to the survey.

Among critical care nurses, 80% reported feeling “stressed” or “exhausted” in the last 14 days, while nearly half felt “depressed.” Survey results indicated the worsening mental health conditions among frontline workers is triggering an increase in poor physical health and behavior, and a surge in seeking care.

Asked about their behavior, 71% reported increased difficulty sleeping in the prior 14 days, 45% reported overeating, 29% reported increased alcohol consumption, 6% reported increased suicidal thoughts, and 2% reported increased “self-injurious behavior.”

Among nurses of all types, 20% reported increased alcohol consumption, 5% reported feeling isolated, 4% reported increased suicidal thoughts, 3% reported increased substance use, and 1% reported “self-injurious behavior.”

The survey also noted a positive increase in the number of nurses seeking professional mental health services. In an earlier survey, 24% of nurses reported seeking care. That number is up 7% YTD.

Of the nearly 10,000 nurses surveyed, 92% were women, 7% were men, and 1% were “other.” Seventy-four percent were white, 10% were Black or African American, 4% were Asian, and 4% were Hispanic or Latino. Sixty percent were 25 to 54 years old, and 76% reported providing direct care to patients.




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