1. Toussaint, Edith M. MSN, RN

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Burnout among nurses is not a new phenomenon, but the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the process ("COVID-19: Impact on Nurses and Nursing," AJN Reports, May). Nurses caring for COVID-19 patients experienced events that challenged and stretched their emotional, psychological, physical, and spiritual limits. Nurses at every level are in a battle that has no line of reference in our present nursing lifetime. The public rightly hailed nurses as champions and heroes, as they were involved in extraordinary feats. Nurses amid COVID-19 give selflessly, and we need to meet their needs.


Spoorthy and colleagues reviewed the literature regarding mental health issues developed by health care workers during the pandemic.1 Evidence suggested that poor social support and self-efficacy were associated with stress, anxiety, symptoms of depression, and insomnia in health care workers; the authors proposed regular mental health screening for those caring for patients with COVID-19.


As a profession, we need to be diligent in following up on the needs of nurses. A concerted effort is required to get help for nurses confronting psychological issues associated with pandemic stress.


Another point of concern is the expected departure of nurses from the profession for various reasons. I am not confident we will have a rush of applicants to nursing schools to replace nurses leaving the workforce. People will enter nursing, but the pandemic has added a different perspective. They will weigh the pros and cons of nursing and the genuine risks they may encounter. COVID-19 has shown there is stress and danger associated with being a health care worker that was never in our consciousness. We need to think not only of the recruitment of nurses but also of supporting and retaining our present nurses.


Edith M. Toussaint, MSN, RN


Pembroke Pines, FL




1. Spoorthy MS, et al Mental health problems faced by healthcare workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic-a review. Asian J Psychiatr 2020;51:102119. [Context Link]