The psychological impact of the Coronavirus emergency on physicians and nurses: an Italian observational study

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Acta Biomed. 2021 Jul 29;92(S2):e2021030. doi: 10.23750/abm.v92iS2.11575.


BACKGROUND: The Coronavirus has put a strain on the response capacity of health systems and there are various psychological effects on health workers.

AIM OF THE STUDY: To investigate the psychological impact of the coronavirus emergency on physicians and nurses.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A study was conducted on a sample of nurses and physicians (n=770), who were asked to fill in a questionnaire investigating physical and psychological problems. It also included the IES (Impact Event Scale), STAI (State Trait Anxiety Inventory) scale and BDI (Beck Depression Inventory).

RESULTS: 87.7% of the sample was represented by nurses (n=675), 12.3% (n=95) by physicians. 52.3% (n=403) of the participants believed that they had not received good training on the correct use of Personal Protective Equipment. 18.2% (n=140) declared that they had experienced a moment in which they had had to choose among the patients whom to treat for an essential therapy. Among the psychological symptoms, stress (76.2%; n=587), anxiety (59.4%; n=457) and depression (11.8%) prevailed and only 3.9% of the healthcare personnel sought help from a psychologist. The total score of the IES-R scale was 3.47. A significant association emerged between exposure and the risk of contagion (p-value = 0.003), stress was more present among nurses than among physicians (77.5% vs. 67.4%; p = 0.003). Among physical symptoms, headache (52.2%; n=402) and pressure injuries (24.8% n= 191) prevailed.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of the study show that mental health monitoring of health workers, who are at risk of developing major psychological disorders, is a priority.

PMID:34328135 | DOI:10.23750/abm.v92iS2.11575