Nursing during normal times was demanding enough. Then came Covid-19. Nurses and physicians had to learn on the fly about treatment and protection.
Stephanie Zerwas, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina, compared it to “trying to build the airplane mid-freefall.”
It’s taken a mental toll. An American Nurses Association survey, conducted in December 2020, found that just 35% of nurses said they felt like their work had meaning, and only one quarter of all respondents said they were optimistic about the future.
Many nurses have been working nonstop since the pandemic began almost one year ago. And although there’s more hope now as health care workers and their older, at-risk patients get vaccinated, most nurses still feel worn down, Zerwas said.
She added, “It’s this unrelenting grind. It’s hard to be in the middle of that. The hallmark of pain is just that you feel like it’s never going to end.”