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Study looks at contributors of anxiety and depression among ICU nurses

Photo: Juanmonino/iStockphoto

Kathmandu, Nepal — Nurses who work in COVID-19 intensive care units and those in non-COVID units both experience feelings of anxiety and depression, but the contributing factors differ, results of a recent study by researchers from Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital suggest.

Using survey responses from 96 nurses at a “tertiary care university hospital” in Kathmandu, the researchers compared the prevalence of anxiety and depression, as well as their contributing factors, between nurses working in an ICU with COVID-19 patients and those working in an ICU with patients admitted for other reasons.

Although survey results didn’t show any statistical difference in anxiety and depression between both groups of nurses, those in the COVID-19 unit reported less satisfactory sleep than their counterparts. Of the 52 nurses working in the COVID-19 ICU, 27 (51.9%) said they weren’t getting enough sleep. Ten of the 44 nurses (22.7%) in the non-COVID-19 unit reported the same.

In addition, more nurses in the COVID-19 unit indicated they planned to leave their current department (32 compared with nine nurses in the non-COVID ICU – or 61.5% vs. 20.5%).

Meanwhile, more nurses in the non-COVID-19 ICU said they had less confidence in their care for patients, compared with their counterparts: 30 (57.7%) vs. 14 (31.8%), respectively.


“Early assessment of anxiety and depression in nurses working in all ICUs and their active medical and behavioral interventions are important in protecting this vital workforce dealing with the pandemic,” the researchers write.

The study was published online Sept. 28 in the journal Nursing in Critical Care.

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