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

Canadian Horizons is taking steps to develop a 320-unit residential neighbourhood at 1050 Spiller Road, northeast of the City of Penticton. (Canadian Horizons photo)
Penticton Indian Band opposes Canadian Horizons development

Proposed residential development will remove the protected rights of the syilx Nation, says PIB

This picture taken in yesteryears shows how popular the Naramata public beach has been over the years.
(Naramataslow)
It does take a village to save a beach

Nearly $600K raised so far to preserve Naramata park

Co-owner, Baani Arora (pictured) celebrated the grand opening of Maharajah Grocerz in Penticton Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020. (Jesse Day - Western News)
Penticton’s first South Asian supermarket celebrates grand opening

Maharajah Grocerz carries foods found across South Asian countries as well as North American staples

Jordan Naterer, 25, was last seen Saturday Oct. 10. He planned a hike in the Manning Park area, and has not been seen since. Photo Facebook.
Family devastated as search for missing Manning Park hiker suspended

‘It was an extremely difficult meeting with the parents when we had to tell them.’

A puppy is cared for at the Kelowna BC SPCA. Image: BC SPCA
Puppy recovers from virus after being seized from Princeton farm

The pup was one of the 97 animals seized by the BC SPCA in September

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

A file photo of an RCMP dog. (Campbell River RCMP photo)
Lawsuit claims Kelowna man suffered ‘vicious’ attack by RCMP dog, handler

Fernando Verde claims he was resuscitated at the hospital and needed emergency surgery following the attack

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Vancouver Island man starts website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

BC Green Party candidate for Kelowna-Mission Amanda Poon found some of her campaign signs tagged with racist and sexist graffiti. (Amanda Poon)
Sexist, racist graffiti found on Kelowna-Mission Green candidate signs

Amanda Poon’s campaign signs were found defaced on Sunday, Oct. 18

During her PhD, Dr. Sylvie Harder spent several field seasons at an international research station in the Swedish Arctic, researching the impacts of climate change on permafrost environments. (Contributed)
Salmon Arm-raised climate scientist keen to help B.C. communities prepare for change

Sylvie Harder brings expertise to West Coast Environmental Law

Grant and Barbara Howse, in quarantine in Invermere. Mike Turner photo
Denied entry into U.S., Kootenay couple still forced to quarantine for 2 weeks

The rules around crossing the U.S. border led to a bizarre situation for an Invermere couple

Most Read