Title : Psychological impact of Covid-19 on nurses: A survey utilizing standard measures of distress, resilience and growth
Nurses are high risk front-line workers dealing with Covid-19. Psychological distress has been found to impact a large number of nursing professionals during the Covid-19 pandemic. Healthcare workers have been identified as having significant emotional reactions to exposure related to Covid-19 in both direct and indirect settings. This study conducted an online survey of 112 nursing professionals with a 66 item, online questionnaire, which included standardized measures of psychological functioning and qualitative reactions to their experience dealing with Covid-19. Subjects were primarily female (92%), younger (40% - 25-34 years of age) and located in the North Eastern United States. Significant findings included the presence of moderate or greater levels of anxiety (62%), depression (31%), and PTSD (15%). Measures of depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress, and posttraumatic growth were strongly correlated. Results found nurses who provided direct patient care had significantly greater intrusive thoughts and memories of their experiences than nurses who did not. Prior history of depression or anxiety did not appear to impact the findings. Subjective results supported the impact on personal lives as well as professional work responsibilities. The use of standardized instruments measuring depression, anxiety, stress and psychological growth following stressful work in a pandemic setting allow for improved comparisons across studies as well as providing a more precise quantifiable measure of areas of adverse emotional impact. Suggestions for helping nursing professionals cope and deal with impact on psychological well-being are discussed. The impact of psychological distress during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic on later functioning is postulated as well as limitations and benefits of online investigation at times of crisis. Concerns about the representativeness of online surveys, type of practice and timing of impact during a prolonged pandemic are discussed.