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Nurse burnout. Passion in Nursing, what happened?

Updated: Dec 8, 2023




Nurse burnout. What's happening in nursing post-Covid?


As we emerge on the other side of the pandemic, the world is beginning to return to normal, but underneath the real surface impact of the pandemic bubbles.


A prime example of these impacts is within the nursing profession. Nurses have been on the frontline since March 2020 and continued to provide expert care with every wave of illness, never quite believing that the worst was over.


The recovery of nursing and its nurses will take a lot of energy, creativity, kindness, and determination from many different people and resources.

Although our nurses have shown nothing but resilience, increased rates of depression, anxiety, PTSD, burnout, and exhaustion have been inevitable, with many considering leaving the profession.



How can we rebuild a passionate, healthy nursing workforce?


Some key factors need to be addressed for nursing to recover from the effects Covid 19 fully.


These include:


Instability


Unrest felt by nurses who survived working through the pandemic. Over half of Canadian nurses are considering leaving in the next five years. Many felt vulnerable and unsupported during the pandemic as a lack of planning, and PPE became quickly apparent.


To help reassure nurses, agencies should continue planning, gathering resources, and educating relevant parties to react quickly to future emergencies.


Unsustainable workloads and staff shortages


Workloads have grown exponentially during the pandemic due to staffing shortages and gaps in experience and skill with newer nurses.


Employers must acknowledge that cutting staffing levels to save money is not working. It has a negative effect on patient care and staff well-being. Streamlining recording requirements will also lessen nurses' workloads.



Impact on nurses' health


The two significant health impacts on nurses due to the pandemic are burnout and a decline in mental health.


Nurses realized they were suffering from burnout by experiencing exhaustion and disengagement from work or home activities.


After the pandemic, mental health has declined in many professions, with reports of depression, anxiety, and PTSD on the rise.


Person-centred care now needs to take precedence over profits as employers work to retain nurses and create a positive, healthy work environment. Employers need to listen to nurses' concerns and struggles and put plans in place to address the issues and offer solutions before more nurses think of leaving the profession.




Appreciation for nurses


During the pandemic, nurses were seen through the media to be dedicated, resilient, and compassionate. Working through the most arduous periods of our lives with little knowledge of an unknown virus.


The general public showed its appreciation the only way it knew how, and clapped their support and displayed messages of thanks from their windows.


A post-pandemic world has shown that this support was not enough and that now is the time for well-being support, fair pay, and high levels of nursing recruitment to ensure nurses can continue to do the work they are trained to do and reignite their love and passion for their work.




Reflection

  1. Do you remember how you felt during the pandemic?

  2. Do you feel different now the world is returning to normal?

  3. Do you have any concerns about your job or mental health post-Covid?







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