Research in combination with the latest polls confirmed that health workers were suffering from fatigue caused by the pandemic. This fatigue plays a big role in reducing their mental health, especially for health workers who felt ashamed when looking for treatment. It has been particularly stressful for health workers in critical care, female health workers, and specialists in infectious diseases.
Hospitals are on record for hiring large numbers of temporary nurses because most of their staff were getting exhausted or falling ill themselves. Hospitals were also taking measures such as assigning office staff clinical activities or cross-training the available employees.
The joint commission, in order to avoid burnout, encouraged health providers to issue health workers with mental health care. In addition to that, they should adopt open and honest communication with them.
A survey launched by the Washington post-survey and KFF interviewed health workers based in various areas. They also interviewed a section of adults in the US that were not in the health sector. Stress-related to the pandemic caused almost half of the interviewed health workers to report sleeping problems. 16% claimed increased alcohol and drug use, 31% claimed that they experienced stomach aches or headaches.
21% of the health workers also claimed that they were afraid of catching the virus and risk transmitting it to their family members back at home. 16% of the health workers claimed that they found difficulty in wearing the personal protective clothing as well as the additional face masks. A small number claimed that working for long hours and reduced time off was the hardest part.
Overall, more than half of the health workers claimed that the pandemic affected their mental health. Younger health workers were the most affected. About 70% of the health workers interviewed, who were below thirty years, claimed that their mental health was negatively affected. 69% claimed that they experienced burnout at work. 13% claimed that they had lost an average of 10 patients that were under their care.
56% of health care workers claimed that their intensive-care units catered for more than their capacities at some point in the pandemic. 34% claimed that they worked without protective equipment because of the inadequate supply.
Respondents from the KFF survey showed mixed reactions about the future of their jobs. More than three-quarters of the health workers claimed that they felt hopeful going back to work.