Background: Studies suggest that nursing staff during pandemics such as H1N1 Influenza and COVID-19 exhibit higher than usual stress levels due to an increasingly overburdened healthcare system and increasing infection rates. This study aims to investigate the major stressors and coping strategies reported by nurses working directly with potentially infectious patients in Alabama, United States, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire study was conducted with nursing staff working in hospital settings in the state. The questionnaire was completed by 109 nurses working in hospitals that treated COVID-19 patients. Results: Around 71% of the nursing staff were concerned about receiving more COVID-19 patients and exhibited heightened workload-related stress resulting from taking care of infected patients. The study found that most nurses (82%) are stressed about getting their friends and family infected. Overall, younger, less experienced nurses reported more stress levels compared to older, senior-level nurses. Findings suggest that many nurses fail to perceive protective measures as an effective coping strategy, with only 75% reporting problem-solving strategies such as hand washing and wearing a face mask, and only 60% avoiding public transportation and crowded spaces. Findings also suggest a lack of organizational support including psychiatric assistance, with no nurses reportedly seeking psychological therapy. Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic increased the stress level of the nursing staff in Alabama. The study finds that the cases in the state of AL are still increasing dramatically, which can overwhelme the healthcare system and escalate nurse stress levels.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to thank Auburn University for supporting this research project. The study was funded through Dr . Ali’ s (corresponding author) start-up funds.
© 2020 Ali et al.
- Coping strategies
- Nurses stress
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article