Intensive care, Son Llàtzer Hospital, Mallorca

Burnout, stress, sleeping disorders - Covid has taken its toll.

22-03-2021Miquel À. Cañellas

The Satse nursing union is highlighting a notable deterioration in nurses' physical and psychological health as a consequence of the Covid pandemic. Seven out of ten nurses are suffering from burnout, while nine out of ten feel stressed. Anxiety and fear affect virtually all nurses.

During February, the union surveyed 11,645 nurses from across Spain. The evidence clearly points, says Satse, to a lack of protection for health professionals who, since the start of the pandemic, have dedicated themselves to caring for and serving millions of people. They have done so, while "putting their health and safety, as well as that of those closest to them, at risk".

The sense of burnout has risen from 56% to 69%, while stress has increased from 78% to 88%. This latter percentage also applies to the number of nurses experiencing emotional exhaustion. In terms of a feeling of accomplishment with their work, only 40% have this.

Satse has been conducting periodic surveys since 2012. The union concludes that far from there having been an improvement, there continues to be a "general deterioration" in physical and psychological well-being. As a consequence of what has been suffered during the months of the health crisis, "this is more serious and worrisome".

Ninety-six per cent of nurses say that they have experienced restlessness, nervousness and anxiety and fear, with 60% saying that this has been frequent or very frequent. Ninety-two per cent have suffered from sleep disorders and 83% have found that their appetite has been affected.

"The pandemic has taken a clear toll on the physical, psychological and emotional health of nurses. The various administrations have not moved forward in improving working and professional conditions." The suffering, which has worsened because of the pandemic, cannot go on "one minute more". Satse is demanding that measures are adopted, as a matter of urgency, in putting an end to "this unbearable situation".

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