New Study From Trusted Health Finds Significant Decline in Nurses' Mental Health and Well-being in the Wake of COVID-19, Yet Commitment to the Profession Remains High
A new study from Trusted Health, the career platform for the modern nurse, has highlighted the damaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on nurses’ mental health and well-being. The study, which was released to coincide with Nurses Week and Mental Health Awareness Month, also found that nurses remain largely committed to their profession despite feeling that their mental health is not prioritized or supported at either the facility or the system level.
Nurses are at an increased risk of suicide, and even before the current crisis hit, have been experiencing burnout rates at an all-time high, with some studies estimating that up to 63 percent exhibit symptoms such as job-induced stress, anxiety, and depression. In addition, more than half report being in suboptimal mental or physical health, which research shows can impact the quality of patient care. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated this issue, as frontline nurses find themselves delivering care for a high volume of acutely ill patients, often in situations with limited crisis response training or supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE).
As part of its overall mission to better support nurses -- the backbone of our healthcare system -- Trusted Health set out to understand the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on nurses in the U.S. The following key findings are the result of an email survey that was completed by 1,425 nurses, two-thirds of whom reported that they were providing direct care to COVID-19 patients:
- The majority of nurses are concerned about contracting COVID-19 in the course of doing their jobs. Eighty-one percent of respondents reported being at least “slightly concerned,” and two-thirds were either “concerned” or “very concerned.”
- Nurses’ mental health and well-being has declined significantly since COVID-19 began. On a scale of 1-10, nurses rated their current mental health and well-being an average of 5.4, compared to an average of 7.6 prior to the COVID-19 crisis, representing a decline of nearly 30 percent.
- Nurses don’t feel that their health and well-being are being prioritized or supported. On a scale of 1-10, nurses rated their current facility an average of 4.8 in terms of the support it has provided related to their mental health and well-being. Nurses also report feeling unsupported at a systemic level. When asked how they think that the healthcare industry prioritizes and supports nurses’ mental health and well-being, nearly 95 percent said they felt that it was either not a priority or that it was a priority, but that there were inadequate measures in place to support it.
- Despite these findings, most nurses remain committed to the profession. The vast majority of respondents (79 percent) said that the COVID-19 crisis has not impacted their career plans, and they remain as committed or even more committed to nursing than they were previously. Fifty-two percent of nurses say their feelings about being a nurse haven’t changed, while 33 percent said they were more proud to be a nurse than they were before the crisis.
“The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted not only how indispensable nurses are, but also the ways in which the healthcare system is failing them. And yet, despite all of this, they remain more committed to their work than ever,” said Dan Weberg, PhD, RN, Head of Clinical Innovation at Trusted. “Our goal in releasing this data is to use this moment, when the eyes of the world are on our healthcare workers, as a catalyst to come together to find sustainable solutions to support them.”
The survey findings are part of a larger report that includes a series of recommendations for hospitals, health systems, and healthcare leaders on how they can better support nurses’ mental health and well-being, which can be accessed by visiting Trusted’s new Mental Health and Emotional Support Resource Center. The Resource Center was designed as a central repository for nurses to access information, content and programs intended to support their mental and emotional well-being. It also contains information about Trusted’s new partnership with The Ohio State University’s College of Nursing, which provides nurses with access to an emotional support line staffed by seasoned nurse practitioner faculty, including mental health experts, and supervised students. This “by nurses, for nurses” solution is the first of its kind, expanding beyond the basic counseling services currently offered. Nurses who call the emotional support line may then opt to participate in a wellness support partnership program supported by the College of Nursing for a period of four or eight weeks.
Since the onset of COVID-19, Trusted has been focused on meeting the unprecedented demand for healthcare workers by matching nurses who have raised their hands to help with hospitals battling the pandemic. As a nurses-first company, Trusted was among the first to offer guaranteed quarantine pay for all of its nurses, and has made their Nurse Advocate team -- former bedside nurses who offer guidance throughout the job search process -- available 24/7 to support the needs of Trusted nurses working on the frontlines. Over the last several weeks, nearly 40,000 nurses have signed up via Trusted to work on the frontlines of the crisis.
About Trusted Health
Trusted is where modern nurses go to build their careers. Nurses are the backbone of our healthcare system and yet their options for finding new roles are cumbersome and outdated. Trusted is on a mission to change this by matching the nurses on our platform with a range of flexible jobs that meet their preferences and career goals. With support from a dedicated Nurse Advocate and unmatched insight into compensation and contract details, Trusted makes it easy for nurses to navigate the job search process and manage their careers with confidence.
Trusted supports hiring in all 50 states and has connected the nurses on its platform with thousands of opportunities. Based in San Francisco, CA, Trusted has raised $25 million in funding from Craft Ventures, Felicis Ventures, and Founder Collective, as well as healthcare innovators like Texas Medical Center and Healthbox. For more information, visit www.trustedhealth.com.