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A recent report released by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) suggested COVID-19 has caused mass trauma among the world’s nurses. Preliminary findings show that in many countries the portion of nurses reporting mental health distress has risen from 60% to 80% since the first wave of the pandemic, with rising trauma, anxiety and burnout in the nursing profession (source).

The ICN also warned such trauma is highly likely to have a significant long-term impact to a wave of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety, which will inevitably impact the size the of nursing workforce; and urged government to take urgent action to provide support and to ensure the physical and mental health of nurses and other health workers. 

In order to understand the psychological and social impact of COVID-19 on the Australian frontline healthcare workers, Associate Professor Natasha Smallwood and Professor Karen Willis conducted a national-wide COVID-19 Frontline Health Workers Study. Over 9500 healthcare staff took part in the study which aims at investigating the social, occupational and mental health effects experiences by frontline health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to paint a picture of how to provide support for our health workers during this crisis and to better prepare for future crisis.

COVID-19 Frontline Health Workers Study results release at People Summit Australia

Allocate Software is pleased to welcome Associate Professor Smallwood and Professor Willis at People Summit Australia on 28th April, where they will be presenting the results of the study and reveal the findings of the investigation for the first time. The session will provide insight into areas such as the prevalence and severity of mental health symptoms in frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, and the positive and negative coping factors utilised by the workforce throughout this time. The session will also cover questions raised by the study, for example, identifying which members of the workforce are more at risk, and what care leaders can learn from the solutions adopted by their workforce.

The Australia’s Future Health Workforce report predicted that by 2030 there will be a deficit of 123,000 nurses and 5,000 doctors, but that was before the pandemic and did not account into the possible impact it could have on the health workforce. Globally there are many reports suggesting health workers are on the verge of leaving their professions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A study in the US reported that as many as 1 in 4 health care workers have considered leaving their job since the onset of the pandemic (source). Providing staff mental health support to deal with the trauma associated with the pandemic is going to be the number one priority for healthcare leaders if they want to retain their talents.