In Support of Caregivers: The Truth about COVID-19 and PTSD
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused heightened levels of stress among healthcare workers—and now there is growing
concern about the long-term psychological efects, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Before COVID, about 22% of nurses experienced PTSD symptoms, compared with about 8% of the general population.
For those serving in hospital COVID units today, some studies say the number is 60% or more.1
Without recognition and treatment of the stresses caused by COVID-19, hospitals will sufer negative
consequences: more staf sick-calls, higher turnover, disengagement, diminished quality of care, lower patient
satisfaction, and decreased patient safety.2
Awareness is key
A simple frst step is awareness, and that means knowing your enemy. Be sure everyone on your team can name and
identify PTSD symptoms, including:
- Intrusive thoughts
- Re-experiencing a traumatic event
- Avoiding reminders of the event
- Sleep disturbances3
- Negative changes in thoughts and feelings
- Frequent illnesses
Healthy stress management
Even better than identifying PTSD, is preventing it altogether. Nurse leaders can do this by openly
discussing the topic, rejecting its stigma as a personal fault or weakness, and establishing an end to the
pervasive “I’m fne” mentality in nursing.4 This new culture would focus on healthy stress management
and open dialogue. Promoting wellness through a culture and mindset shift means leading with:
- Regular and honest communication
- Praise and positive feedback
- A commitment to mindfulness
- A method of accountability, including a buddy
system and frequent/regular check-ins
As a seasoned nurse, I have witnessed the traumatizing efects of stress over my 30-year career. It’s clear
COVID-19 has magnifed the stress more than any other healthcare crisis in recent history. For me, it’s more than
a professional crisis: it’s also personal. As a mom of twin ICU nurses, addressing PTSD has become a mission for
me as I’ve watched these strong, dedicated nurses struggle. I’ve counseled, reassured, and supported them
through a sea of emotions, and I’ve encouraged them to take the time for self-care and recognize the efects of
stress. As a nurse I know what this ongoing battle requires, and as a mom, I look forward to calmer days
The team at Sizewise is dedicated to making the job of caregiver easier. Email email@example.com
if our team of nurses can help in any way.
Want more info?
The Sizewise Clinical Support Team is available to answer your questions or provide additional training.
Call 800-814-9389 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.