U.S. nurse leaving the hospital bedside.

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“I couldn’t understand how this highly educated and powerful trauma nurse is now a patient.”

A registered nurse who asks her to call her “Gi” is talking about herself. While working in the emergency room of a regional hospital in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic, Gi began to cry badly and was unable to speak or function. She had a panic attack, but was later admitted to a hospitalized psychiatric facility and diagnosed with PTSD. Gi has returned to the hospital bedside as a hospice nurse.

Pandemic of a suffering nurse

Gi is not alone. The number of nurses with mental health problems increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a survey by the International Council of Nurses (ICN), the number of nurses reporting mental health problems since the outbreak of the pandemic has increased from 60% to 80% in many countries.

“Nurses are suffering,” says Howard Catton, CEO of ICN. He cites a violent attack “with the fatigue, sadness, and fear faced by a nurse caring for a patient.”

According to the American Nurses Association, one in three nurses is “emotionally unhealthy.”

“Normal system failure”

According to nurses, the burden of mental health is caused by various problems, and before COVID-19, we were already facing a shortage of staff, and many nurses have to cope with the increase in the number of patients. I was doing multiple jobs. It is stretched to a 1: 3 ratio to harm both the patient and the nurse.

Clara, who has a career as a nurse, says she is facing “a huge amount of work and a huge amount of work due to lack of resources.” One failure can make the difference between life and death and ruin your career.

“It’s a constant pressure on your shoulders, a constant downward pressure, you need to move faster, you have to be better, you have to work harder” She said.

Alex Kaspin quit his job in the emergency room to get a less stressful nursing job on the pediatric floor. Her stress led to panic disorder. (Carolyn Presutti / VOA)

Alex Kaspin suffered from overwork, overwork and overwhelming panic disorder. She recently left Philadelphia’s emergency room when COVID-19 figures coincided with rising murder rates in the city.

“At that point, all normal systems were out of order,” says Kaspin. Kaspin says her hospital was operating in a “triage situation.” The emergency room was filled with inpatients and the waiting room became an emergency room because there were not enough nurses to see the patients in the normal room.

Philadelphia police officer Sean Wills investigates double shooting. The city's murder rate exacerbates Covid-19's stress on nurses in the emergency room. (Carolyn Presutti / VOA)
Philadelphia police officer Sean Wills investigates double shooting. The city’s murder rate exacerbates Covid-19’s stress on nurses in the emergency room. (Carolyn Presutti / VOA)

“Give me a vaccine now”

During the increase in violence and the increase in COVID-19 patients in the United States, Caspin felt that he could not provide medical care to the standards he had set. In addition to stress, some patients were not vaccinated against COVID-19.

She suffers from her memory of several COVID-19 patients in their twenties. “Just before lowering the respiratory tract, the last thing they say is.” I want a vaccine now. Give me a vaccine now. “” ”

Jen Partika, Pennsylvania, calls vaccine hesitation a deliberate ignorance that has never been seen in 27 years of nursing.

“You deliberately create a situation where I can’t keep up as a nurse manager,” says Partyka. She always does her best for her patients, but she feels different when she finds out that they are not vaccinated. “You are deliberately hurting others.”

Experts say that vaccination of more people will significantly reduce the number of patients.

Chip Khan is President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Hospital Federation. There is no “short-term magic bullet,” he says, but what is needed is a “decrease in COVID.”

No more hitting the support pot

Abigail Donley worked at the ICU in Manhattan in the early stages of the pandemic. She quit her job to co-found IMPACT in Healthcare to work on policy changes to benefit workers and patients. IMPACT’s December campaign promotes secure staffing.

“People were hitting the pot at 7 o’clock, but now they can’t raise their salary,” Don Lee said the nurse was once considered a hero of COVID-19. “They can’t get bonuses. They can’t raise children. They don’t have their mother’s health care.”

More and more nurses are leaving the hospital bedside for more difficult work schedules and better salaries. Travel care institutions send nurses where they need to stop the decline in staff and provide three times the salary that other nurses receive.

“Michelle” helped install the COVID-19 unit in the hospital where she worked for 10 years. This month she left the $ 30 hourly registered nurse job to become a travel nurse in an intensive care unit in another city. She calls her new salary “crazy.”

“I’m leaving the system and going to a travel nurse, and I’ll make $ 120 an hour,” she told VOA.

Kahn says government agencies are “digging up” hospitals when they offer such high salaries to travel nurses. He agrees that having a strong in-house team is far better than temporary staffing.

When asked why hospitals do not keep veteran nurses by offering high salaries and other benefits, Kahn said: .. “

U.S. nurse leaving the hospital bedside

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