September 20, 2021 – Critical care nurse Beth Wathen has been caring for critically ill patients for 35 years. But nothing could have prepared her for the past 18 months.
Wathen, who works in the pediatric intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital Colorado, said it was impossible to describe the overwhelming death and despair she has seen since COVID-19 began to fill hospitals to death. edge.
“It’s hard to know how devastating this pandemic has been if you’re not in intensive care,” she says. “Watching these poor patients die with no family at their bedside. Watching people say goodbye to spouses FaceTime.”
“This whole pandemic has been heartbreaking. “
The pandemic is wreaking more havoc on nurses than many realize. In a new survey, the American Association of Critical Care Nurses found that of 6,000 critical care nurses surveyed, 66% considered leaving their jobs because of the pandemic.
Sixty-seven percent are afraid of putting the health of their families at risk, and 92% believe the pandemic will shorten the careers of nurses. Of those surveyed, 76% believe that unvaccinated patients adversely affect the physical and mental well-being of nurses.
“We know nurses are leaving in record numbers now, but I was very troubled by those numbers,” says Wathen. “They should worry everyone. “
The extent to which healthcare workers are suffering amid the pandemic has also been highlighted by other research. A May study published in the journal EClinicalMedicine, for example, found that of nearly 21,000 U.S. healthcare workers surveyed, 61% had a significant fear of exposure or exposure to COVID-19.
Half of the workers suffered from burnout and 38% said they suffered from anxiety or depression.
Nurses have always been a vulnerable group, long before COVID-19 filled hospitals. One study found that, according to data from 2007 to 2018, nurses in particular were twice as likely to die by suicide as women outside of health care.
“Nurses feel like we are at our breaking point. But I am surprised to see how the numbers are numerous and overwhelming ”, declares Amanda Bettencourt, PhD, president-elect of the association. “I have never seen so many nurses consider leaving our profession. It was the stress test for an already stressed system.