The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health of nurses in British Columbia, Canada using trends analysis across three time points

Publication type
Journal article
Havaei F, Smith PM, Oudyk J, Potter GG
Date published
2021 Oct 01
Annals of Epidemiology
Open Access?

PURPOSE: This study examined trends over time in the prevalence of anxiety and depression among Canadian nurses: 6 months before, 1-month after, and 3 months after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. METHODS: This study adopted a repeated cross-sectional design and surveyed unionized nurses in British Columbia (BC), Canada on three occasions: September 2019 (Time 1, prepandemic), April 2020 (Time 2, early-pandemic) and June 2020 (Time 3). RESULTS: A total of 10,117 responses were collected across three timepoints. This study found a significant increase of 10% to 15% in anxiety and depression between Time 1 and 2, and relative stability between Time 2 and 3, with Time 3 levels still higher than Time 1 levels. Cross-sector analyses showed similar patterns of findings for acute care and community nurses. Long-term care nurses showed a two-fold increase in the prevalence of anxiety early pandemic, followed by a sharper decline mid pandemic. CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 has had short- and mid-term mental health implications for BC nurses particularly among those in the long-term care sector. Future research should evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of health workers in different contexts, such as jurisdictional analyses, and better understand the long-term health and labor market consequences of elevated mental health symptoms over an extended time period