Sunday, December 4, 2022

Roughly Half Of U.S. Healthcare Workers Feel ‘Defeated’ By Pandemic, Poll Says

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Almost half of all U.S. healthcare workers felt defeated by the demands of their jobs during the pandemic, according to a poll published Thursday by Morning Consult and Axios, as workers struggled with burnout and severe Covid-imposed staffing shortages. 

Medical workers hug outside NYU Langone Health hospital as people applaud to show their gratitude to … [+] medical staff and essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic on May 7, 2020 in New York City.

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Key Facts

Compared to the 49% of healthcare workers who said they felt defeated during the pandemic, 28% said they felt energized and 28% said they didn’t know or had no opinion. 

Healthcare workers have mixed emotions about their jobs, with 77% saying they felt somewhat or very dedicated, compared to 74% who said they felt ready for a change, 74% who felt tired, 63% who felt passionate and 58% who felt anxious. 

Some 48% of respondents said their mental health somewhat or had gotten much worse throughout the pandemic, with about three in four respondents saying their work has made them tired since the pandemic began and three in five saying it made them feel anxious. 

There are some remedies to burnout: 43% said receiving a raise from their employer had been effective at keeping them happy at their jobs, compared to 41% who said a one-time bonus was effective and 38% who said receiving more frequent praise was helpful. 

Some 63% of respondents said they’ve mostly been able to cope with their jobs in the last six months, compared to 30% who said they struggled to cope and 8% who weren’t sure.

Morning Consult surveyed 1,000 healthcare workers from January 31 to February 11. 

Key Background
A previous Morning Consult poll published in October found nearly 1 in 5 healthcare workers had quit their jobs during the pandemic or were considering leaving their jobs or the healthcare industry altogether, often citing burnout or pandemic safety concerns. Months later, some states faced severe hospital staff shortages amid a wintertime rise in Covid-19 cases fueled by the coronavirus’ omicron variant, though the pressure on hospitals has dropped since then. The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention also cut the recommended isolation period for healthcare workers infected with Covid-19 from 10 days to seven days in December, a move the agency said was done in part to prevent Covid-19 from sidelining pharmacists, nurses and doctors—the CDC later said all asymptomatic people only need to isolate for five days. Meanwhile, as anti-vaccine misinformation spread over the last year, some health workers reported a rise in distrust and anger toward the medical community, a stark difference from the beginning of the pandemic, when healthcare workers were commonly referred to as “heroes” and thanked by strangers nightly. Plus, some 31% of nurses who responded to a National Nurses United survey in September said they experienced violence in their workplace stemming from staffing shortages and fewer visitor restrictions. 

Surprising Fact
Some nurses have been told to go into work days after testing positive for Covid-19, the Washington Post reported last month, which the CDC says is acceptable during times of “crisis.”

Licensing agencies that are backed up and preventing new employees from entering the workforce have added fuel to the healthcare worker shortage fire. Red tape, decreased budgets and low staffing at agencies that process licenses for nurses, psychological workers and other healthcare givers are leading to a backlog in license applications, according to NBC News. 

Big Number
9,523. That’s the seven-day average of new daily Covid-19 hospital admissions nationwide from February 7 to 14, according to the CDC. That’s down 28% from the week prior, and a 56% decrease from when new hospitalizations were at their peak from January 9 to 15. 

Further Reading
These 13 States Are Facing The Worst Hospital Worker Shortages As Omicron Fuels A New Covid Surge (Forbes) 

These 18 States Are Grappling With Critical Hospital Worker Shortages As Covid Hospitalizations Surge (Forbes) 

CDC Head Defends Decision To Shorten Covid-19 Quarantine Time (Forbes)

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