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

Julia Strobach. File Photo
Nearing seventh anniversary, Valley RCMP continue search for Julia Strobach

“We know that someone has information that will help us locate her.”

Comox author Loraine Hartley, with a few copies of her debut novel, “My Delightfully Dysfunctional Family.” Photo supplied
Comox author pens novel about life in a blended family

Generally speaking, authors write their books, then determine a title. But not… Continue reading

Police reported more than 2.2 million Criminal Code incidents (excluding traffic offences) in 2019 within Canada- 164,784 more than in 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Crime Severity Index on the rise with the Valley, Canada: StatsCan

There were 1,450 actual incidents in the Comox Valley in 2019

Joyce Jay enjoys a moment with Georgia, her son Ed’s dog, at her Comox home. Joyce is 103 years old. Scott Stanfield photo
Comox centenarian recalls wartime Britain, moving to Canada

Joyce Jay isn’t one to shy away from adventure. She wanted to… Continue reading

The distance education program through Navigate (NIDES) has been seen some large gains in enrolment. Image, screenshot
Comox Valley school enrolment up despite fewer kids in class

Growth being driven heavily by increase in distance education numbers

Sooke’s Paul Larouche enjoys gold panning along the Sooke River, looking for small treasures. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Island man finds niche audience by gold-panning on YouTube

Paul Larouche, 29, with over 215,000 subscribers, opens up about his journey

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

It’s volleyball season at schools in the Comox Valley, in a cohorted environment. Tournament play or matches between schools are not happening during COVID. File photo
Comox Valley Schools re-opens sports at practice level

Comox Valley Schools has re-opened sports at a practice level, but as… Continue reading

Police service dog Herc helped RCMP locate and arrest suspects in the Ladysmith area on Oct. 23, 2020, related to a stolen vehicle. (Submitted)
RCMP nab prolific property offender in Ladysmith with assist from police dog Herc

Police attempted to stop the vehicle but it fled from the area towards Chemainus.

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Nancy Guhl implores anyone who saw her daughter Ellie being struck by a car at a crosswalk on Lerwick Oct. 21 to contact police. File photo
Mother of girl hit by car in Courtenay seeks witnesses

The mother of a girl who was struck by a car in… Continue reading

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

CBSA. (Black Press Media File)
4 sentenced in B.C. steroid smuggling, distribution ring that spilled into U.S.

Canadian Border Services Agency announced the results of a lengthy investigation it called ‘Project Trajectory’

Most Read