Recent research done in the Balearic Islands shows that anxiety among medical professionals has doubled in the previous seven months. This, along with many other symptoms is crippling the medical system and nurses amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the pandemic started, depression rates among women increased by 15% while PTSD skyrocketed from 57% to 82%. The symptoms are getting exponentially more severe with the number of months spent working in pandemic wards and/or intensive care units.
Apart from the stress and fear from the virus itself, nurses have gone through serious changes in their working conditions. And for worse—56% have had to work overtime due to understaffing, causing them to lack sleep and rest, consume larger doses of caffeine and unhealthy food.
Apart from PTSD, anxiety, and depression, the study revealed that a stunning 70% of nurses suffer from emotional exhaustion. This type of exhaustion usually appears after two months of work in COVID wards and increases with time.
Unsurprisingly, primary care nurses are the most affected, and it is recommended that no medical professional should work more than three months in primary care in order to avoid mass burnouts. Witnessing an increased number of patient deaths increases the risk of developing PTSD.
At this moment, there are no official plans to help medical professionals deal with the situation in a healthy way, and numbers are quite depressing. Only 6% of nurses receive psychological support, although some 23% believe they need it, and 37% state that they will surely need it in the times ahead of us.