Behind the mental health crisis in nursing: Testimonial from a Californian travel nurse

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Registered nurse Bryan Hofilena attaches a “COVID Patient” sticker on a physique bag of a affected individual who died of coronavirus at Providence Holy Cross Health care Middle in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. (AP Image/Jae C. Hong)

Last week’s tragic suicide of a nurse at a Kaiser healthcare facility in Santa Clara, California, has highlighted the large psychological burdens which have been put on health care personnel for far more than two a long time of the COVID-19 pandemic. The growing mental wellbeing disaster amid overworked and traumatized health care workers is mirrored in the mass exodus of nurses from the career.

Olivia, a California intense treatment unit (ICU) vacation nurse whose title has been altered to defend her identification, has used the past two years of the pandemic in some of the most in excess of-pressured places throughout the state.

“I’ve found images of me from a extensive time back. I’m happy,” she claimed. “That individual is no a lot more.

“We’ve been less than a ton of worry. I cannot believe straight. I have write-up-traumatic strain condition (PTSD). I have stress. I can barely leave my dwelling. I have an 8-calendar year-old I have to treatment for.”

Olivia explained how Private Protecting Machines (PPE) was rationed at the beginning of the pandemic, “They [hospitals] locked the N95 masks. They would only give you one particular.”

“In the commencing, nurses ended up the only types likely into the COVID rooms with an iPad so the health care provider can converse to them….They tried using to convey to us not to have on N95s at the commencing. They explained to us to use bandanas. Some nurses experienced to put on the identical N95 for a month doing work with COVID individuals. They would not even permit us provide our individual products. I explained, ‘Now persons are dropping lifeless close to me and you can’t give me an N95. If you do not want to give me a mask, I’m going property. Our total job, we had been instructed to only wear an N95 as soon as. You had a TB client, you put it on at the time.’

“I felt like they were being striving to destroy us. We’re disposable. We really do not matter, we’re garbage. Nurses in Oakland experienced to use rubbish baggage for isolation gowns. They experienced to work on their very own staff who died of COVID. I hardly ever obtained COVID and I’m pretty grateful for that. Persons around me received it and obtained unwell.”

‘It’s not my career to die. You deliver firemen with oxygen and their gear. You mail us very little. It’s like you gave me a rock and a adhere and despatched me into war and predicted me to be tranquil.’