According to her, Cassandra Alexander recalls the precise day on which the “firehose tears” began: April 25, 2020. Alexander, a nurse in intensive care with specialized training in treating infectious disease, had spent the previous two months working marathon hours in an ICU ward in San Francisco Bay Area, just as this first wave of COVID-19 patients started to pour in from all over the world.
The situation, she remembers, was apocalyptic despite her willingness to volunteer: ventilators, beds, facemasks, protective gowns, and even morgue space were all in short supply, yet the victims kept pouring in. And there was no sign of an end in sight.
Nurse Corps Is Suffocated As A Result Of Another COVID Wave
Alexander claims that intense treatment helped relieve her symptoms, but her post-traumatic stress disorder was so bad that “simple things” would cause her to weep, such as a dying houseplant. One issue that came up often in conversations with coworkers was: Why do you continue to work in a complex, hazardous, and apparently thankless job? Alexander’s tale, although dramatic, isn’t very original.
The nation’s nursing corps, which was already under strain owing to a staffing shortfall that predated the epidemic, is now in a state of crisis as the fourth wave of COVID-19 cases has flooded into the country’s healthcare system causing widespread panic.
Due to a scarcity of ICU beds in hospitals throughout the United States, administrators are rushing to fill shifts and offering lucrative compensation packages for anyone who can assist fill the need. In addition to the crushing workload caused by the coronavirus epidemic, other external and on-the-job demands have prompted some nurses to just resign from their positions entirely, creating a crisis.
Both statistical evidence and anecdotal evidence show that front-line nurses are exhausted, fed up, and feel unappreciated. While the scarcity in their profession has led to hospitals paying high money for experienced caregivers, a mass exodus of nurses may be on the horizon due to a lack of qualified candidates.
According to a study of the nation’s nursing shortage released in May by the University of St. Augustine School for Health Sciences, the courage and devotion of America’s nurses have been shown in front-page newspaper articles throughout the country during the COVID-19 epidemic. The epidemic, on the other hand, has placed significant pressure on nurses and the healthcare system. In addition to having important implications for patients, the converging crises have enormous ramifications for nurses themselves.
According to research, nurses who are stressed out are more prone to make errors when caring for patients. Experts argue that the strain of a once-in-a-century health catastrophe does little to reduce the risk of suicide and drug addiction in a profession that already has a high rate of both.
According to Amy WitkoskiStimpfel, an assistant professor at the Rory Meyers College of Nursing at New York University, for nurses remaining on the job, the situation has been “very depressing,” according to Stimpfel. During the epidemic’s early stages, many people reported being concerned about working with a reduced staff and being frightened to go to work.
A poll of nurses conducted by Vivian, a health care worker marketplace, a year after the epidemic began provides an indication of the extent of the issue. Among those who responded, 43 percent said they were thinking about leaving, with that figure rising to almost half among critical care nurses, experts who are frequently called upon to care for COVID-19 patients. On the other hand, other pandemic surveys have shown that around 20 percent to 30 percent of healthcare professionals stated they were considering quitting because of the outbreak.