VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses in B.C. were experiencing high levels of burnout, PTSD, and workplace injury.
A UBC study commissioned by the BC Nurses Union found these issues plagued nurses working in acute care, long-term care and community care settings
“In long-term care, a staggering 85 percent reported exposure to physical assault and 54 percent reported high levels of burnout,” reads a release from the BC Nurses Union.
“In acute care, 57 percent of nurses reported high levels of burnout; 50 percent were above the cutoff point for PTSD, and 31 percent reported moderate or severe depression,” it continues.
Christine Sorensen, BCNU president, says these results underscore the need for more workplace support.
“Before COVID-19, we see there was a dire need for investments in mental health support for nurses who are dedicated to providing care,” according to Sorensen. “Nurses are professionals and are committed to their patients, but this research shows they have been suffering in silence for too long.”
A second survey has been launched to gauge whether the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated these issues.
“We anticipate the results will be quite startling. We’ve heard anecdotally that COVID was quite challenging, not only in the workforce, but at home with family members losing work and childcare, and the stresses of everyone living together. This has really added to nurses’ mental health and injuries that they were already struggling with,” Sornesen says.
COVID-19 has changed the workplace for nurses. Research can inform pandemic planning needs that incorporate psychological health for nurses. Tell UBC researchers about your experience around anxiety & burnout while working amid the pressures of #COVID19: https://t.co/1jzx6oeDK2 pic.twitter.com/5dRQ5TNcHj
— BC Nurses’ Union (@BCNursesUnion) June 24, 2020
“We are committed to collecting this important data to help shed a light on the realities in health care, and to encourage parties to come together to find solutions,” says Sorensen. “B.C.’s patients deserve safe quality care delivered by professional nurses whose physical and mental health is held by health employers as a top priority.”
With files from Lisa Steacy