A multitude of studies and surveys around the world on the mental health of healthcare workers converge on one and the same observation: the staff are at their wit’s end. Nurses in Quebec and Ontario are no exception.
Amélie Perron is co-chair of the Nursing Observatory, which brings together several researchers from different universities, including the University of Ottawa, the University of Victoria, the University of Mcgill and the University of Quebec in Outaouais (UQO).
The general state of psychological health of nurses is worrying and is crumbling from wave to wave, according to Ms. Perron, who finds that more and more of them have abnormally high rates of symptoms related to anxiety, post-traumatic stress, depression and insomnia.
It is extremely worrying, it is very disturbing the data that we see. […] We also have abnormally high proportions of staff who develop suicidal ideation, reports Amélie Perron, also a full professor of nursing at the University of Ottawa.
More nurses are considering quitting
The number of health professionals who are seriously considering leaving the profession or who have already taken steps in this direction is also on the rise, underlines Amélie Perron, who makes a direct link with the pandemic and the way it has been managed since. almost two years.
Finding themselves in successive waves of pandemics with no end in sight really, I think there are those who have decided to throw in the towel and bow out, unfortunately, believes Amélie Perron.
In Quebec, she adds, the conditions for nurses were already
very bad before the pandemic hits.
” It comes at a time when we absolutely cannot do without this workforce. “
Added to this is the new Omicron variant, but also the new directive from Quebec’s Minister of Health, Christian Dubé, who announced on Tuesday that healthcare workers who tested positive for COVID-19, but who are asymptomatic could, following a specific protocol, continue to work.
If the Nursing Observatory sees this as another example of mismanagement and another source of stress for the staff, others, like Dr. Pascal Croteau, a doctor in the Pontiac in the Outaouais, believe that this measure could have some good, to provided that it is well framed and applied to the letter.
If it’s done in a very well-defined setting where the risk is reduced to almost zero, then there might be some benefits. We can talk, for example, of teleworking or of different actions that can support clinicians who are always on the floor., he said.
In the Outaouais, public health reported as of Tuesday that 65 workers at the Outaouais Integrated Health and Social Services Center (CISSS) were positive for COVID-19.
With information from Rémi Authier and Marie-Jeanne Dubreuil