Background: The COVID-19 pandemic reached the United States in March of 2020. America quickly led the world in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases, which contributed to hospital overflow and healthcare worker burnout. Many units that were not typically equipped for such critical cases were converted into COVID units, and there was a high demand for nursing support as the virus peaked.
Objective: Since this study focuses on the self perceived mental health of the participants, the objective was to gather information pertaining to the lived experiences of these ICU nurses and how they feel/felt during the course of this pandemic.
Materials and method: Using snowball technique, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurses who worked through the entirety of the COVID-19 pandemic will be interviewed through a Zoom call. They will be asked to describe their emotions while working on the front lines of the pandemic, and how those experiences have affected their mental health and their daily lives.
Results: All nine nurses agreed that working through the COVID-19 pandemic was a stressful and confusing experience. All nurses felt like they weren’t able to provide proper care to their patients at the beginning of the pandemic and they felt lost. Now, all of the nurses feel more knowledgeable and more comfortable working with COVID positive patients. Four nurses sought out psychological support for their mental health, and one nurse considered it. Coping mechanisms varied from positive and negative habits, including cooking/baking, reading, sleeping, eating, smoking, drinking, talking to family, and talking to other nurses.
Conclusion: ICU nurses face a great deal of pressure on a regular basis, and the outbreak of COVID-19 contributed to that stress leading many nurses to feel burnt out. The nine nurses that were interviewed had varying degrees of coping and psychological trauma.