The toll: poor mental health about five days a month.
Federal researchers tracked self-reported mental health symptoms among more than a thousand adult workers in 2018 and 2022, including 226 health care workers in 2018 and 325 in 2022.
Compared to other groups surveyed, health care workers reported a substantial jump in poor mental health days in the past month, from 3.3 in 2018 to 4.5 in 2022. Last year, less than 30 percent of health workers described themselves as very happy, which is a decline. 2018. More than a third reported symptoms of depression, while more than half said they had symptoms of anxiety.
And the percentage of health care workers reporting harassment on the job has more than doubled compared to the 2018 rate.
“Hospitals and other health care institutions are microcosms of society,” said Rume Alexander, who teaches nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and advises the American Nurses Association. “Everything that’s happening in the world impacts our health care facilities.”
Nearly half of the health care workers surveyed said they were looking for new work to a somewhat or very great extent, the researchers found — an ominous sign for providers already struggling to retain staff. Dr. Houry said the statistics jumped out at him more than anyone else in the survey.
Expert Diagnosis: Medical institutions are failing the staff.
The survey showed that health workers are less likely to burnout if they receive support from supervisors, adequate time to do their work, and reliable management.
But experts said efforts by medical institutions to address the mental health of their employees have been uneven.
Dr. Amy Locke, chief wellness officer at University of Utah Health, said medical workers, many of whom are underpaid, are especially vulnerable to overwork in an environment of staff shortages and enormous financial and moral pressure to perform. Were sensitive.
“You have this mentality of, oh, I can do this. I can do it by myself. And I can do it because people are counting on me,” she said.
Dr. Locke, whose institution received a federal grant As for the welfare of health workers, he said the financial pressure on health providers is now even higher than pre-Covid. “It’s hard for the health system to think, I’m going to throw a lot of money at my people when I need to keep the lights on,” she said.
Who suffers: Nurses and local health workers are particularly vulnerable.
Burnout caused by working conditions has been particularly acute for nurses.
Katie Carroll, a hospital nurse in New Brunswick, NJ, said 10 nurses on her unit have left in the past two years, about half the nursing staff. “You’re so busy with a troubled mind that more mistakes can happen because you have so much on your plate,” he said.
Local health departments, often targets of public harassment during the pandemic, have also suffered. Scott Lockard, public health director of the Kentucky River District Health Department, said Tuesday that his 130 employees, who make an average of $23 an hour, were busy regaining their focus and energy.
His department held an employee festival at a local park in the summer. “We have undertaken activities around mission, vision, values to re-establish ourselves,” he said. “So that people know why we do what we do.”