Healthcare facilities should focus on the wellness caregivers ( nurses, nursing assistants, doctors ) just as much as they focus on Covid-19.
'I say I'm fine, but I feel scared to death every time I go to work.'
These are the remarks of a nurse in a recently study conducted by the American Nurses Foundation as reported by Modern Healthcare.
She isn't alone.
In the same article by Modern Healthcare, study after study reveals that nurses report feeling exhausted and overwhelmed as they continue to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Also, a recent survey by the American Nurses Foundation shows that tens of thousands of nurses have shared insights on their practical concerns, their mental health and wellness, and their financial challenges.
Another of such surveys suggested that more than half of nurses disclosed feelings of depression as the pandemic enters its seventh month in the U.S.
The truth is, the findings shouldn't be a surprise at all. That same article states that for years, the healthcare workforce has confronted rising levels of professional dissatisfaction brought on by increased regulatory demands, burdensome electronic health records, poor work-life balance, and a loss of autonomy. Prior to the pandemic, one-third of nurses exhibited signs of burnout. And studies coming out of countries that have passed the peak of COVID-19 indicate that 45% of healthcare workers in direct patient-care experience anxiety.
This all raises the question of how healthcare facilites can best support those in in the frontline, doing most of the work, day in, day out.
In a recent Viewpoint in JAMA, Dr. Tait Shanafelt—director of Stanford Medicine's WellMD Center—and his colleagues discussed findings from a series of listening sessions with healthcare professionals in the early days of the pandemic. Through their conversations, they identified eight primary sources of professional anxiety—from access to personal protective equipment to added childcare challenges and financial strain. They say these myriad concerns can be organized into five categories of 'requests to employers': prepare me, protect me, support me, care for me, and hear me.
Kate Judge, the executive director of the American Nurses Foundation concludes that their based on qualitative data from our their Pulse of the Nation survey series, they found that the responses of nurses fall into similar calls for assistance. She said:
“In surveys collected at the onset of the pandemic, it seemed that concerns from healthcare professionals coalesced almost exclusively around the need for preparedness and protection. We heard frustrations about lack of training, equipment, transparency and timely information. Indeed, in a survey put out by the ANA shortly after the outbreak, a full 43% of responses to open-ended questions referenced shortages of staff and PPE, with 2 out of 5 nurses reporting that they had to make their own PPE. In a more recent ANA survey, 62% of nurses express feeling unsafe by employer requirements to reuse single-use PPE, like N95 masks.”
Another recent survey from the ANA, which focused on the financial impact of the pandemic on nurses, revealed new vulnerabilities from deferred retirement investments, lost savings, and the end of student loan forbearance.
This goes a long way to expose the necessity for better care for caregivers during these uncertain times as well as for life after COVID-19.
In evaluating most healthcare facilites support for caregivers, nurses still express a need for more space to process grief, share stories, and plan ways to move forward. Kate Judge also said that, he foundation is conducting focus groups and many health systems across the country are planning town halls and listening sessions to hear and respond to the experiences of their healthcare professionals. These are essential spaces that employers should create now.
At Nurzee, we are continuously providing support to healthcare facilites through efficient medical staffing with our VMS as well as researching and providing resources to caregivers through the use of our careCard.
If you are a facility administrator, and need help finding the right staff to provide relief to current staff so as to ease the burden on them, call or email us today at +1 (763) 400-3862 or [email protected]. We will love to help in any way we can. We are in this together.