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There are few US nurses who have remained unaffected by the pandemic, according to a new survey by NurseGrid. COVID-19 seems to be changing the lives of nurses working at all levels of experience, from newcomers to those who have spent over a decade in the profession.

By April 19, nurses across the United States had sent in responses to the survey. Over 15,000 answered a range of questions regarding the impact of the pandemic on their work, their safety, and their confidence in the face of the novel virus.

Over 89% of the respondents are working in facilities in which COVID-19 is present, and the experience can be intensely stressful. When asked about their three most pressing concerns, 79% of the nurses surveyed mentioned the danger of infecting family and friends, while 61% worry about contracting the virus themselves. The other two greatest worries are the likelihood of burnout (28%), and the effects of the pandemic on their mental health (27%).

Shortages of PPE are a further source of anxiety for nurses working on the front lines. 84% say that there is a pressing need for new N95 masks. In addition—particularly among nurses in the hardest-hit states, such as New York, New Jersey, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and Connecticut—53% noted an insufficiency of negative airflow rooms and a lack of shields (52%).

The virus has also brought about a variety of changes in the workplace. 64% of the respondents have had their work assignments changed in the wake of the virus, and four out of 10 nurses have been reassigned to treat patients with COVID-19. Other nurses, however, are experiencing underemployment, with 21% of those surveyed saying that they have had their hours reduced, been shifted to on-call status, or have even been furloughed.

Nurses are a special breed, though, and they are drawing upon their inner resources to overcome the obstacles and anxieties that mark this new era. That fully 80% of the nurses surveyed are “very” to “somewhat” confident about treating COVID-19 patients is an impressive testimony to their determination and courage as they practice their profession.

For full details on the survey, see the NurseGrid survey results page.

Koren Thomas
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