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Study shows high levels of burnout, PTSD, injury among B.C. nurses pre-pandemic

Last Updated Jun 25, 2020 at 10:10 pm PDT


In long-term care 85 per cent reported exposure to physical assault, 54 per cent reported high levels of burnout

In acute care 57 per cent of nurses reported high levels of burnout; 50 per cent were above the cutoff point for PTSD

A new surevy is trying to gauge whether these issues have been exacerbated by the pandemic

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.

“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