Addressing COVID‑19 Impacts on Canada’s Nursing Workforce
Nurses form the backbone of health care around the world, yet often face the highest risks in doing their job. Research led by this PI identified high levels of burnout, exhaustion and workplace safety concerns in Canada’s nurses prior to COVID-19. Working conditions have worsened, with nurses leaving the profession resulting in a nursing shortage. Workplace changes and new models of care implemented during the pandemic increased workload. While some of the changes were experienced by nurses before during periods of surge, they became constant throughout COVID-19, with little or no break for recovery experienced between pandemic waves. Nursing workloads increased in intensity with each wave, as patients became sicker leading to a nursing workforce that is depleted, fatigued, burned out and leaving. While recent research has identified the anxiety and stress faced by nurses during the pandemic, none has examined ways to mitigate the burnout and turnover occurring now as a result of working through the pandemic. Our study examines nurses’ experiences with work during the COVID‑19 pandemic, workplace safety concerns, the facilitators and barriers nurses currently face specifically related to their own personal resilience and health behaviours, and identify the supports they need to practice safely during the recovery stages from the pandemic and moving forward. Using a mixed methods approach (survey of nurses, interviews, literature & document review), we will develop policy directions to facilitate effective healthcare work environments that maintain a healthy and resilient workforce for the future. Our study meets all of the funding objectives as it aims to improve understanding of the extent and impact of working through the COVID‑19 pandemic on nurse resilience and identify the supports (interventions) needed to practice effectively during the recovery stages from the pandemic, as well as generate evidence from nurses, who experience gendered impacts of COVID-19.