Maben, J., & Bridges, J. (2020). Covid‐19: Supporting nurses’ psychological and mental health. Journal of clinical nursing. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocn.15307
Here, the authors discuss the stressors and challenges and present evidence‐informed guidance to address the physical and psychological needs of nurses during the COVID‐19 pandemic. They stress the importance of peer and team support to enable positive recovery after acutely stressful and emotionally draining experiences, and outline what managers, organisations and leaders can do to support nurses at this most critical of times.
“I broke down and cried today. I cried of exhaustion, of defeat. Because after 4 years of being an ER nurse, I suddenly feel like I know nothing” (Sydni Lane, USA, Instagram and Facebook). (Fick , 2020)
“It’s an experience I would compare to a world war” Roberta Re, Italy. (Giuffrida, 2020)
“we’re on our knees here, and it’s really difficult and we’re all trying the best we can and we don’t feel… we feel like we could be doing more, and I know we can’t … we’re staying away from our families and we’re putting ourselves in danger to try and save other people’s loved ones, it feels like a losing battle but it’s not, we’ve all got hope and we’re all trying to do what we can.” (Shirley Watts, UK ICU Nurse, BBC news 04 April 2020)
As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19) pandemic takes hold, nurses are on the front line of health and social care in the most extreme of circumstances.
At the bedside 24 hr a day seven days a week, in similar outbreaks, nurses have had the highest levels of occupational stress and resulting distress compared with other groups (Cheong & Lee, 2004; Maunder et al., 2006; Nickell et al., 2004). Nurses are already a high‐risk group, with the suicide rate among nurses 23% higher than the national average (ONS, 2017). Despite this, the RCN (Royal College of Nursing in the UK) has reported that nurses feel “repeatedly” ignored by their employers when they raise concerns about their mental health (Mitchell, 2019). A focus on personal responsibility for psychological health and well‐being and an overemphasis on nurses being “resilient” in the face of under‐staffing and often intense emotional work is consistently challenged by nurses and nurse academics (Traynor, 2018). Treating resilience as an individual trait is seen to “let organisations off the hook” (Traynor, 2018), yet has often been the focus of organisational strategies to date. This does not work at the best of times and certainly is not appropriate now in these most difficult of circumstances (Edited, read the unedited version in the Journal of Clinical Nursing)
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