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Emergency nurses experience the “burden of moral distress”

The emergency care nurses have been found to be facing significant distress, according to a recent investigation. The research found that the nurses working in the emergency departments are often exposed to high levels of stress and trauma, which can lead to serious mental health issues and burnout.

According to the Nursing Times, “Nurses and colleagues across urgent and emergency care services in England have been reduced to tears while telling healthcare safety investigators about their current working environments and the moral injury they are experiencing”.

High pressure

The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) recently published a report outlining the “significant distress” faced by NHS staff in emergency departments and wards, and across NHS 111 call handling centres and ambulance services over the past year.

Emergency care nursing is a challenging and demanding profession, requiring nurses to provide high-quality care under high-pressure and fast-paced situations. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has further heightened the stress and pressure on emergency care nurses, as they have had to deal with the increasing number of patients requiring care while facing significant workforce shortages.

The investigation found that emergency care nurses often experience a range of physical and emotional symptoms as a result of their work. These symptoms can include exhaustion, anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

Common words used by staff during interviews included 'broken', 'anger', 'tired', 'numb', 'hurt', 'powerless', 'failure', 'depressed', 'helplessness', 'relentless' and 'demoralising'. Additionally, the study found that many emergency care nurses are reluctant to seek help or support, fearing that it could impact their career progression or job security.

Supporting nurse wellbeing

The findings of the investigation highlight the need for healthcare organizations to prioritize the wellbeing and mental health of emergency care nurses. It is crucial to provide adequate support and resources to ensure that nurses are equipped to manage the challenges and stresses of their job.

One way to support the wellbeing of emergency care nurses is to provide them with access to mental health support services, including counselling, therapy, and other resources. It is also important to create a supportive and collaborative work environment where nurses feel comfortable speaking openly about their mental health and seeking support when needed.

Additionally, healthcare organizations can implement programs that focus on stress management, resilience, and self-care. These programs can provide emergency care nurses with the tools and strategies they need to manage stress and prevent burnout.

Join Clinical24

At Clinical24, we prioritize the wellbeing and mental health of all our nurses by providing access to mental health support services, creating a supportive work environment. We have staff available 24/7 to assist you in any circumstance – to offer guidance, support, and advice.

If you want to join an agency that cares, get in touch with us today.