Nurses and midwives feel ‘forever altered’ by the impact of COVID-19 and remain deeply affected by what they experienced, according to new research co-authored by the University of Plymouth.
Led the by the University of Surrey, the study also shows that neither of the professions felt they came through the last two years unscathed.
The findings are published in the International Journal of Nursing Studies, as part of the ongoing 'Impact of COVID on Nurses (ICON)' longitudinal interview study. The study arose from the ICON survey, where researchers examined the impact of the pandemic on frontline nursing staff’s psychological and emotional wellbeing during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Researchers say that there is an urgent need to tackle stigma to create a psychologically safe working environment and have called for a national COVID-19 nursing workforce recovery strategy to retain nurses and help restore their psychological wellbeing.
Lead author Jill Maben, Professor of Health Services Research and Nursing at the University of Surrey, explains:
“Nurses and midwives put their own health and psychological wellbeing on the line for the public during the pandemic and many unfortunately lost their lives. Others experienced burnout, high levels of moral distress and PTSD. We have a duty as a society to take care of frontline staff who experienced such extreme psychological and emotional distress during this pandemic.”