Nurses leave profession due to COVID burnout

Coronavirus

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Nearly one-in-five health care workers have left their job since the pandemic started.

Many of them are nurses, facing unprecedented stress and burnout from this latest wave of the pandemic.

“With the pandemic, it’s just kind of this continuous stress level that never seems to let up,” said Edria Hoff, a nurse with Central Ohio Primary Care.

Hoff has worked as a nurse for 25 years, and throughout her career, she’s seen and endured quite a lot. But she says nothing compares to this pandemic.

“Having those less busy days, unfortunately, don’t exist right now. So we’re all suffering a little from burnout, unfortunately,” said Hoff.

That burnout could lead to a massive loss in healthcare workers.

According to a mental health and wellness survey report from the American Nurses Foundation, 42% of nurses say they’ve experienced trauma because of COVID, while 50% say they’ve considered leaving their job.

While those numbers are concerning, Hoff says she’s even more worried about the number of students avoiding healthcare.

“Those nurses that we were hoping to enter the pool with us, going to college now and saying, you know what, I’m going to pick something else. Because that seems stressful, that seems dangerous,” said Hoff.

To keep the staff they have now, hospitals are working to improve the culture of wellness and mental health.

“They need to know that they are seen, they need to know that they are heard, and they need to be acknowledged,” said Cathy Cleary, director of Nursing at Central Ohio Primary Care.

Cathy Cleary is the director of Nursing for Central Ohio Primary Care. She says addressing nurses’ needs when it comes to their physical and mental wellbeing is crucial. But just as helpful can be the gratitude and appreciation from those in their community.

And that’s something nurses say they’ve seen a lot less of lately.

“I think all of that’s gone away because it’s become normal, but the folks that are still in there caring for the patients, it’s still happening,” said Hoff.

Throughout this pandemic, the retention rate for nurses at Central Ohio Primary Care has been at 70%, the company altogether has 2,284 employees, 270 of which are nurses.

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