Almost one-third of staff reported severe or extremely severe depression, anxiety or stress.
A study has revealed the ongoing concerns of nurses and midwives in the UK have about COVID-19 and the risks it poses to both their physical and mental health.
The ICON study evaluated the impact of COVID-19 on the UK nursing and midwifery workforce with snapshots taken prior to the COVID-19 peak, during the peak, and in the recovery period.
Over 4,000 members of the nursing and midwifery workforce took part in the study, with results reported in real-time so findings can be used to inform workforce strategies.
The study was led by academics and NHS staff from across the UK, including King’s College London, University of Warwick, Cardiff University, University of Plymouth, University of Nottingham and University of Surrey.
The correct PPE is not always available.
This second survey taken during the peak has shown that 88% of nursing and midwifery staff are continuing to worry about risks to family members due to their clinical role.
A massive 92% admitted being worried about their clinical role posing a risk to family members while 74% felt their personal health was at risk.
Almost one-third of respondents reported experiencing severe or extremely severe depression, anxiety or stress. However, only 30% have reported accessing services to support their health and psychological wellbeing.
Despite current challenges in delivering healthcare, 61% felt that care quality for patients that do not have COVID-19 is better than care provided before the pandemic.
PPE availability has improved prior to the COVID-19 peak, but 40% still reported that the correct PPE was not always available.
These survey results show the ongoing challenges faced by the UK nursing and midwifery workforce and the urgent need to provide support for the health and wellbeing of staff, and to ensure they have access to equipment and ongoing training.
Worrying about the risk to their families.
Ruth Harris, Professor of Health Care for Older Adults in the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care at King’s College London said: “Our survey demonstrates that a large majority of nursing and midwifery staff continue to worry about the risk to their families and to their own personal health of working in a clinical role during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Providing support for psychological wellbeing, adequate training for redeployment and complete confidence in the availability of PPE is of importance.”
Jill Maben, Professor of Health Services Research and Nursing in the School of Health Sciences at the University of Surrey said: “Learning from previous pandemics we know that the timing of access to support and type of support available for nursing staff is crucial for their overall wellbeing; however our survey results suggest few are currently accessing such services for the stress and anxiety they are experiencing.
“It is important to find out why this is to protect the workforce.”