Health care workers watch a procession of first responders drive past Royal Columbian Hospital with lights and sirens activated in a show of support for staff treating those affected by COVID-19, in New Westminster, B.C., on Thursday, April 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

As British Columbians were told to stay home at the height of COVID-19 starting in March, B.C. nurses were working on the front lines of pandemic and experiencing high levels of exhaustion, depression and anxiety, a new study has found.

A survey recently conducted by University of BC nursing researchers and the BC Nurses’ Union found that 60 per cent of the 3,676 nurses interviewed felt emotional exhaustion in June and July. That’s slightly up from the 56 per cent of nurses who reported similar impacts in a survey from late 2019.

Forty-one per cent reported that they suffered from depression, up from 31 per cent reported in 2019. Thirty-eight per cent said they experienced anxiety, compared to 28 per cent last year.

ALSO READ: In a pandemic, those on the front lines face unique mental health challenges

The findings also show the toll exacted by COVID-19 on nurses’ personal lives, with 86 per cent reporting they are extremely concerned about bringing the virus home and 80 per cent fearing they will contract COVID-19 at work.

Farinaz Havaei, an assistant professor at the UBC school of nursing, said that although the findings are preliminary, the researchers involved are noticing broad trends of worsening mental health among frontline nurses in the province.

“As a nurse and a researcher, I’m very concerned to see more nurses reporting higher levels of poor mental health, which can directly affect their ability to provide effective care, if not resolved in a timely manner,” Havaei said in a news release.

The key findings are based on responses from nurses in acute care, community care and long-term care. The survey also looked at nurses’ COVID-19 training, workplace violence and nurses’ coping mechanisms.

Additionally, the survey looked into challenges with the province’s pandemic response early on. According to survey results, 41 per cent of respondents rated the transparency of organizational decisions related to the pandemic as poor or failing. Another 27 per ­­cent said COVID-19 related protocols and policies changed daily, if not multiple times a day.

In a statement, nurses’ union president Christine Sorensen said the study findings reflects the personal and professional sacrifices nurses have made in the past several months.

“It highlights the mental health challenges facing nurses and all health-care workers as they brace for a COVID-19 surge this fall.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusHealthUBC

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Jeremiah Salahub, 41, (Photo: Surrey RCMP)
Surrey RCMP looking for man reported missing in Newton

Jeremiah Salahub, 41, was last seen 3 p.m. Oct. 21, at 72 Avenue and King George Boulevard

Participants in the annual Ride For Refuge charity event bike in front of the Cloverdale Community Kitchen Oct. 3. The event raised $15,000. (Photo submitted: Beverly Rennicks)
Participants raise more than $15,000 in local Ride for Refuge

Cloverdale Community Kitchen raised $5,000 more than last year

Police investigating multiple stabbing at a Newton townhouse on Tuesday night. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Man charged with murder, aggravated assault in Newton townhouse stabbings

Harpreet Singh is to appear in Surrey provincial court on Oct. 29

(Delta Police Department photo)
Police investigating indecent acts in North Delta park

Police received two separate reports of a man masturbating near the Mackie Library on Oct. 21

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

More and more electric cars are on the road, but one Chevy Bolt owner was shocked to see how much his BC Hydro bill skyrocketed once he started charging the vehicle. (Black Press file photo)
Lower Mainland man sees significant spike in BC Hydro bill after buying electrical vehicle

An increase should be expected, but Brian Chwiendacz experienced a 200-plus per cent hike

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Anonymous YVR is an Instagram page that reviews restaurants and other establishments around B.C. based on how well they adhere to COVID-19 rules. (Instagram)
Anonymous Instagram page reviews COVID-19 safety measures at B.C. businesses

There are a number of public health orders various types of establishments must follow to slow virus’s spread

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The Vancouver Canucks and Abbotsford’s Jake Virtanen have agreed to a two-year deal with an average annual salary of $2.55 million. (@Canucks Twitter photo)
Abbotsford’s Jake Virtanen, Vancouver Canucks agree to two-year deal

Two sides avoid arbitration, Virtanen will receive average annual salary of $2.55 million

Jordan Naterer, an electrical engineer from Vancouver, was last seen Saturday Oct. 10. (Facebook photo)
Search efforts to resume for missing Manning Park hiker; Trudeau speaks on case

PM says he’ll do what he can to ‘nudge’ efforts to find Jordan Naterer, yet has little leverage locally

Most Read