2020 was named the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and today, 12 May, also marks International Nurses Day around the globe.
In an uncanny coincidence, 2020 has undoubtedly become a year in our lifetimes where these health workers are more valuable and depended upon than ever before. For many nurses in the trenches right now, 2020 will likely be the toughest and most important year of their career. A year that they will recount to future generations.
But, who is looking out for the people looking out for us?
This week Trusted Health, the San Fransisco-based career platform for the modern nurse, announced a new study that found a “significant decline in nurses’ mental health and well-being in the wake of COVID-19.
The study, which aims to shed light on the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on nurses in the US also found that while the pandemic has exacerbated long-standing issues around job-induced burnout, stress, and anxiety among nurses, commitment to the profession remains high.
The following key findings are the result of an email survey that was completed by 1,425 nurses, two-thirds of whom reported that they were providing direct care to COVID-19 patients:
- The majority of nurses are concerned about contracting COVID-19 in the course of doing their jobs. Eighty-one percent of respondents reported being at least “slightly concerned,” and two-thirds were either “concerned” or “very concerned.”
- Nurses’ mental health and well-being has declined significantly since COVID-19 began. On a scale of 1-10, nurses rated their current mental health and well-being an average of 5.4, compared to an average of 7.6 prior to the COVID-19 crisis, representing a decline of nearly 30 percent.
- Nurses don’t feel that their health and well-being are being prioritized or supported. On a scale of 1-10, nurses rated their current facility an average of 4.8 in terms of the support it has provided related to their mental health and well-being. Nurses also report feeling unsupported at a systemic level. When asked how they think that the healthcare industry prioritizes and supports nurses’ mental health and well-being, nearly 95 percent said they felt that it was either not a priority or that it was a priority, but that there were inadequate measures in place to support it.
- Despite these findings, most nurses remain committed to the profession. The vast majority of respondents (79 percent) said that the COVID-19 crisis has not impacted their career plans, and they remain as committed or even more committed to nursing than they were previously. Fifty-two percent of nurses say their feelings about being a nurse haven’t changed, while 33 percent said they were more proud to be a nurse than they were before the crisis.
“The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted not only how indispensable nurses are, but also the ways in which the healthcare system is failing them. And yet, despite all of this, they remain more committed to their work than ever,” said Dan Weberg, PhD, RN, Head of Clinical Innovation at Trusted. “Our goal in releasing this data is to use this moment, when the eyes of the world are on our healthcare workers, as a catalyst to come together to find sustainable solutions to support them.”
The survey’s discoveries are part of a larger report that includes a series of recommendations for hospitals, health systems, and healthcare leaders on how they can better support nurses’ mental health and well-being. This can be accessed by visiting Trusted’s new Mental Health and Emotional Support Resource Center.
The Resource Center was designed as a “central repository for nurses to access information, content and programs intended to support their mental and emotional well-being.” It also contains information about Trusted’s new partnership with The Ohio State University’s College of Nursing, which provides nurses with access to an emotional support line staffed by seasoned nurse practitioner faculty, including mental health experts, and supervised students.
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Trusted says that this “by nurses, for nurses” solution is the first of its kind, expanding beyond the basic counselling services currently on offer.
Nurses who call the emotional support line may then opt to participate in a wellness support partnership program supported by the College of Nursing for a period of four or eight weeks.
“Since the onset of COVID-19, Trusted has been focused on meeting the unprecedented demand for healthcare workers by matching nurses who have raised their hands to help with hospitals battling the pandemic,” says the company. “As a nurses-first company, Trusted was among the first to offer guaranteed quarantine pay for all of its nurses.”
Their Nurse Advocate team — former bedside nurses who offer guidance throughout the job search process — is available to support the needs of Trusted nurses working on the frontlines. Over the last several weeks, nearly 40,000 nurses have signed up via Trusted to work on the frontlines of the crisis.
Trusted supports hiring in all 50 states of the USA. The company recently raised $25 million in funding from Craft Ventures, Felicis Ventures, and Founder Collective, as well as healthcare innovators like Texas Medical Center and Healthbox.