Impact of Stress on Nurse Workforce Will Outlast Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its second year, its impact on healthcare workers continues. A new research brief from the Oregon Center for Nursing (OCN) summarizes recent findings regarding the pandemic’s impact on the stress levels and emotional health of registered nurses and other healthcare workers.

“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Oregon’s registered nurses cannot be taken lightly,” said Executive Director Jana Bitton, MPA. “Increased and prolonged stress can lead to burnout and will cause nurses to leave the profession.”

In reviewing recent literature, OCN identified several themes including the levels of stress, anxiety and depression were higher for nurses than for the general population, and interventions to support staff’s mental health should be both individualized and organizational in scope.

“Nurses will need support long after we stop wearing masks and the pandemic emergency has ended,” said Bitton. “We will be addressing the emotional and mental health injuries of registered nurses and healthcare workers for years and shouldn’t wait any longer to start addressing the impact of this added stress on our workforce. In order for Oregon to maintain a healthy and responsive healthcare workforce, employers and policymakers must work together to identify the most effective ways to support healthcare workers’ emotional health needs.”

OCN is a nonprofit organization created by nursing leaders in 2002. OCN facilitates research and collaboration for Oregon’s nursing workforce to support informed, well-prepared, diverse and exceptional nursing professionals. Recognized by the Oregon state legislature as a state advisor for nursing workforce issues, OCN fulfills its mission through nurse workforce research, building partnerships, and promoting nursing and healthcare.  

Media Contact:
Jana Bitton, MPA
Executive Director