Aims and objectives: This study explores UK nurses’ experiences of working in a respiratory clinical area during the COVID-19 pandemic over winter 2020.
Background: During the first wave of the pandemic, nurses working in respiratory clinical areas experienced significant levels of anxiety and depression. As the pandemic has progressed, levels of fatigue in nurses have not been assessed.
Methods: A cross sectional e-survey was distributed via professional respiratory societies and social media. The survey included Generalised Anxiety Disorder Assessment (GAD7), Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ9, depression) a resilience scale (RS-14), and Chalder mental and physical fatigue tools. The STROBE checklist was followed as guidance to write the manuscript.
Results: Despite reporting anxiety and depression, few nurses reported having time off work with stress, most were maintaining training and felt prepared for COVID challenges in their current role. Nurses reported concerns over safety and patient feedback was both positive and negative. A quarter of respondents reported wanting to leave nursing. Nurses experiencing greater physical fatigue reported higher levels of anxiety and depression.
Conclusions: Nurses working in respiratory clinical areas were closely involved in caring for COVID-19 patients. Nurses continued to experience similar levels of anxiety, depression to those found in the first wave and reported symptoms of fatigue (physical and mental). A significant proportion of respondents reported considering leaving nursing. Retention of nurses is vital to ensure the safe functioning of already overstretched health services. Nurses would benefit from regular mental health check-ups to ensure they are fit to practice and receive the support they need to work effectively.
Relevance to clinical practice: A high proportion of nurses working in respiratory clinical areas have been identified as experiencing fatigue in addition to continued levels of anxiety, depression over winter 2020. Interventions need to be implemented to help provide mental health support and improve workplace conditions to minimise PTSD and burnout.
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Roberts, N., McAloney-Kocaman, K., Welch, L., Lippiett, K., Ray, E. & Kelly, C. 2022, 'Factors influencing fatigue in UK nurses working in respiratory clinical areas during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic: an online survey', Journal of Clinical Nursing. https://researchonline.gcu.ac.uk/en/publications/5f2649b2-2956-4dcd-9b0c-7c7d4b5c6e8f