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Study will examine impact of pandemic on critical care nurses’ mental health

Researchers want to find out how ICU nurses have been affected
Nurse wearing face mask and goggles holds hands to temples and appears distressed

Researchers want to find out how ICU nurses have been affected

A project exploring how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected critical care nurses' mental health will aim to recommend ways to protect this group in the future.

Researchers are now recruiting critical care nurses to take part in the study.

The volunteers will participate in four interviews between now and March 2021 to track their mental health experience.

Pandemic would have made ICU nurses difficult job even more challenging

Study lead Martyn Griffin of Durham University said COVID-19 would have exacerbated the mental health challenges critical care nurses already face.

ICU (intensive care unit) wards are very difficult places to work, but this was a pandemic that was taking peoples lives in a horrific way, he said.

People are coming to us

Researchers want to find out how ICU nurses have been affected


Picture: iStock

A project exploring how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected critical care nurses' mental health will aim to recommend ways to protect this group in the future.

Researchers are now recruiting critical care nurses to take part in the study.

The volunteers will participate in four interviews between now and March 2021 to track their mental health experience.

Pandemic would have made ICU nurses’ difficult job even more challenging

Study lead Martyn Griffin of Durham University said COVID-19 would have exacerbated the mental health challenges critical care nurses already face.

‘ICU (intensive care unit) wards are very difficult places to work, but this was a pandemic that was taking people’s lives in a horrific way,’ he said.

‘People are coming to us and saying, “we really want to talk about our metal health”, so there is obviously something going on here’

Martyn Griffin, study lead

Dr Griffin said the study will cover issues such as the impact of wearing personal protective equipment, fear of bringing COVID-19 home from work, and the concept of moral distress, where the individual feels constrained by institutional factors from following their conscience.

Nurses are keen to inform the research


Nicki Credland

While the study has exceeded its target of 24 nurse participants – 42 have now signed up – Dr Griffin said more can still join.

‘People are coming to us and saying, “we really want to talk about our metal health”, so there is obviously something going on here,’ he said.

Recommendations will be made to NHS managers

The interviews will form the basis for a report for NHS managers that will recommend ways to improve mental health support for critical care nurses.

British Association of Critical Care Nurses Nicki Credland is a fellow project researcher. She is senior lecturer and head of department for paramedical, perioperative, and advanced practice at the University of Hull.

Ms Credland said: ‘The mental health and well-being of ICU nurses is imperative to ensure they are able to deliver the highest standards of care to the sickest patients in the hospital.’

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