SILVER SPRING, MD – As the U.S. experiences surges in the number of COVID-19 cases across the country, half of nurses on the frontlines providing patient care and responding to the pandemic feel emotionally overwhelmed. That is just one finding from a mental health and wellness survey of nearly 10,000 U.S. nurses conducted by the American Nurses Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American Nurses Association, in the new Pulse on the Nation’s Nurses Survey Series.
According to findings from the mental health and wellness survey, half of nurses say they continue to feel overwhelmed, and nearly 30% say they are experiencing feelings of depression. Three of four (72.8%) nurses who responded say they are suffering from challenges with sleep (either excessive sleep or sleeplessness).
“These findings indicate a tremendous need to put in place now and make widely available authentic support systems and tools to safeguard our nurses’ well-being,” said American Nurses Foundation Executive Director Kate Judge, “so they can continue to care for patients and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.”
Nurse respondents were geographically diverse and represented more than 54 different work environments, with the greatest representation from acute care (hospital) nurses; more than 30% work in medium-size hospital settings (100-499 beds). The survey also revealed that only 3% of nurses believe their Employee Assistance Programs have been a helpful resource for mental health and wellbeing.
“It is deeply concerning that nurses are still operating in a crisis mode, four months into this pandemic, and that few are receiving the support they tell us they need,” said Judge. “It is essential to recognize that supporting and protecting nurses includes access to both personal protective equipment and solutions to address the trauma, grief, moral distress, and PTSD our nursing workforce is experiencing and will struggle with long after the COVID-19 crisis is over.”
The American Nurses Foundation is working in partnership with the American Nurses Association (ANA), American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA), Emergency Nurses Association (ENA), and American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), and has developed the Well-being Initiative to support the near-and long-term needs of nurses.
The next questionnaire in the Pulse on the Nation’s Nurses Survey Series, available online, explores the financial impact of the pandemic on the nursing workforce. Subsequent surveys in the series will explore nurses’ experiences related to advocacy and education and training. All data gathered will be used to inform decisions about how to best support nurses during and after this public health crisis. This survey series is made possible through individual and corporate donations made to the American Nurses Foundation Coronavirus Response Fund for Nurses, which launched in April 2020.
*Data were collected through the Pulse of the Nation’s Nurses Survey Series administered by the American Nurses Foundation to gather insights and experiences of nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Between March 20 – July 6, 2020, 9,780 nurses responded to the Mental Health and Well-Being questionnaire*
About the American Nurses Foundation