In a recent article in Critical Care, nurse researchers and authors cite a number of stresses facing our nurses who are caring for those critically ill from COVID19.
Nurses from all career stages face stress and some more than others. Authors pointed out that “Especially, young nurses with no experience of caring for critically ill patients face a greater psychological crisis. If these psychological problems are not solved effectively, they may not only lead to a decline in their immunity and increase the chances of COVID-19 infection but also have an adverse impact on the quality and safety of the medical care system [2,3,4].”
At this hospital, they tried to address the stress load with several interventions:
- Each medical team included a psychologist in rounds and visited frequently
- Nurses were encouraged to give each other briefings and training to any new staff member on a rolling continuous basis. All nurses were trained to be in teaching mode essentially.
- Encouraged activities ranging from talking, drawing, to singing and exercising together.
- Regular “emotional” rounding and reporting out to each other. Share feelings. Not something all nurses are accustomed or comfortable with but helpful to relieve anxiety in this unprecedented time.
- Text groups (SMS/e.g. WhatsApp or equivalent) were formed so that communication could be enhanced. Online support groups were created.
- Shifts were decreased by 20% in terms of hours. This was one of the most practical benefits.