After working in crisis situations for months with no respite, approximately 50% of frontline nurses in the United States report feeling emotionally overwhelmed. This finding was reported in survey results published by the American Nurses Foundation (ANF).

Between March 20 and July 6, 2020, 9780 nurses responded to a mental health and wellness questionnaire as part of the Pulse on the Nation Nurses Survey Series. Participants represented varied geographic areas within the United States and came from more than 54 work environments. Respondents most commonly worked in the acute care, and more than 30% of respondents worked in medium-size (100 to 499 beds) hospital settings. Only 3% of nurses reported that their employee assistance programs were a helpful mental health resource.

Half of respondents stated that they feel overwhelmed, almost 30% stated they are experiencing depressive symptoms, and 72.8% reported issues with sleep.

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To support the mental health needs of nurses, the ANF has partnered with the American Nurses Association (ANA), American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA), Emergency Nurses Association (ENA), and American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) to create the Well-Being Initiative, a suite of nurse-specific mental health resources.

“It is essential to recognize that supporting and protecting nurses includes access to both personal protective equipment and solutions to address the trauma, grief, moral distress, and PTSD our nursing workforce is experiencing and will struggle with long after the COVID-19 crisis is over,” says ANF Executive Director Kate Judge, according to the news release.


NEW Pulse on the Nation’s Nurses Survey Series: half of frontline nurses emotionally overwhelmed by COVID-19 [news release]. Silver Spring, MD: American Nurses Foundation; July 15, 2020. Accessed October 21, 2020.