September 20, 2021 – Nurse for critical care Beth Wathen has been caring for seriously ill patients for 35 years. But nothing could have prepared her for the past 18 months.
Wathen, who works in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the Children’s Hospital in Colorado, said it is impossible to describe the overwhelming death and despair she has seen since COVID-19 hospitals began to fill to the brim.
‘It’s hard to know how devastating it is pandemic was if you are not on the ICU, ”she says. ‘When I see these poor patients die without family at their bedside. See how people say goodbye to spouses FaceTime. ”
“This whole pandemic was heartbreaking.”
The pandemic demands even more from nurses than many people realize. In a new survey, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses found that out of 6,000 critical care surveys, 66% considered leaving their jobs due to the pandemic.
Sixty-seven percent are afraid of endangering their family’s health, and 92% believe the pandemic will shorten the careers of nurses. Of the respondents, 76% believe that patients who have not been vaccinated undermine nurses’ physical and mental well-being.
“We know that nurses are now leaving in record numbers, but I was very upset about these numbers,” says Wathen. “It should be of concern to everyone.”
The extent to which health workers are suffering amid the pandemic has also been highlighted by other research. A May study published in the magazine Clinical Medicine, For example, found that out of nearly 21,000 U.S. health workers surveyed, 61% had significant fear of exposing themselves or their families to COVID-19.
Nurses have always been a vulnerable group, long before COVID-19 filled the hospitals. One study found that, according to data from 2007 to 2018, female nurses in particular were twice as likely to die suicide as women outside health care.
‘Nurses feel like we’re at our breaking point. But I am amazed at how big and overwhelming the numbers are, ”says Amanda Bettencourt, PhD, designated president of the association. ‘I have never seen this number of nurses considering leaving our profession. It was the stress test for an already stressed system. “