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Majority of nurses considered leaving profession due to mental health impact of Covid-19

91% of nurses said they experienced mental exhaustion because of the pandemic.

Image: Shutterstock/kovop58

RESEARCH COMMISSIONED BY the Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (INMO) has revealed stark findings about the mental health impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on healthcare workers.

The vast majority (91%) of nurses and midwives who responded to the survey said they have experienced mental exhaustion while off duty.

More than four out of every five respondents (83%) said their experience of Covid-19 had a negative impact on them as an individual while 95% said it had a negative impact on their colleagues.

More than half of respondents said a patient they cared for died as a result of Covid-19 and 61% said they considered leaving the profession due to the impact of the pandemic on their wellbeing.

The survey also highlighted work-related concerns that arose during the pandemic.

  • 83% agreed with the statement “I feel my personal health has been put at risk”,
  • 90% experienced stress about the risk of spreading the infection to family or housemates,
  • 40% said they did not have confidence in their employer’s ability to keep them safe,
  • 25% disagreed with the statement “PPE was always available in my workplace”,
  • 90% believed that routine Covid-19 testing of staff should take place,
  • 33% reported stress in relation to difficulty accessing childcare.

The survey was taken by 2,642 nurses and midwives working in the Irish healthcare system between August and September 2020. The vast majority (96%) of the respondents were female and 4% were male.

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A mental health and wellbeing initiative has been created to bring awareness around mental health supports to INMO members.

Speaking about the ‘Let’s Talk About It’ campaign, INMO President, Karen McGowan, said the union’s members have been working in “incredibly difficult circumstances”.

91% of our members stated they had experienced mental exhaustion when they were off duty, while 61% thought about leaving the profession.

“This campaign will encourage our members to utilise the services available to them, while starting a conversation around the serious need for mental health and wellbeing support for frontline workers,” McGowan said.

About the author:

Céimin Burke

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