Emerging Mental Health Conditions in Nursing Professionals during the Global COVID-19 Pandemic- A Narrative Review
Background: Since the start of the Sars-Cov-2 pandemic, which originated in December 2019 in Hubei Province in China, evidence of nursing staff displaying mental health (MH) symptoms and disorders began to rapidly emerge. Research from as early as February 2020 suggests MH conditions such as anxiety, depression and insomnia have been shown to be the most prevalent complaints amongst health professionals (Li et al., 2020). According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) (2020) on the 11th of March 2020 there were 114 countries affected by the virus, with 118,000 cases of the disease worldwide and 4,291 deaths globally.
Aim: This narrative literature review aims to identify which Mental Health Disorders (MHDs) have been found to be most evident in nursing professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic and to establish the extent to which they are prevalent.
Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted from the 1st of January 2020 until the 14th of October 2020 and the data collated from 11 databases (CINAHL, Embase, Medline, PsycInfo, PubMed, PsycArticles, Psychology & Behavioural Science Collection, Cochrane, ProQuest, Scopus and Google Scholar). A Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) flow diagram was employed to depict the flow of information through the different phases of the narrative review, mapping the number of records identified, included and excluded, and the reasons for exclusions to demonstrate the process of establishing the final body of evidence analysed. A total of fifteen studies are included in the final synthesis for this secondary research which comprised studies of varying types and methodologies.
Results: Anxiety dominated the majority of studies and demonstrated the highest percentage of nursing professionals affected by this disorder. Anxiety was found to be between 8.1% to 77.3% prevalent, with between 2.17% and 27.3% of the participants in the included studies deemed to suffer from a severe form of anxiety disorder. Depression was the second most dominant disorder in the participants, ranging from 26%-37.5% and moderate to severe depression was observed in 6.7% and 16.8% overall. A large proportion of studies demonstrated a significant prevalence of insomnia ranging from 28.75%-38.9%. A strong link between all three MHDs showed a similar pattern through all of the included studies in relation to nurse demographics and their working environment.
Conclusion: As the pandemic continues, more research is required to be able to identify other potential MHDs, which may emerge, and to what extent they do so. Furthermore, interventions must be identified and implemented accordingly to reduce the number of nurse professionals dealing with MH issues, which result in longer-term conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).