BackgroundCOVID-19 has become a public health emergency based on its clinical characteristics. Previous studies demonstrated that the onset of a sudden and immediately life-threatening illness could lead to extraordinary amounts of psychological pressure on nurses who play an important role in the illness. Whether COVID-19 pandemic has greater impacts on the psychological status and somatic symptoms from nurses who stand in the frontline of this crisis remain unclear.
MethodsWe evaluated post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and somatic symptoms in the frontline nurses (n = 438) who served in Wuhan, China, during COVID-19 crisis. Nurses who did not worked in the frontline of COVID-19 served as controls (n = 452). The investigation was processed by online questionnaires including: impact of event scale-revised (IES-R) , self-rating anxiety scale (SAS), and somatic symptoms.
ResultsPrevalence of moderate and severe PTSD was significantly increased in the frontline nurses compared to non-frontline nurses. Prevalence of mild anxiety was significantly increased in frontline nurses compared to non-frontline nurses. There were more frontline nurses suffering from severe insomnia and losing weight compared to non-frontline nurses. Severity of PTSD (IES-R score), but not severity of anxiety (SAS score) was similarly positively correlated to incidence of insomnia and weight loss in both frontline and non-frontline nurses to a similar extent.
LimitationsThe results only represented psychological statues and somatic symptom on one time point thus the development of psychological stress and somatic symptom during pandemic of COVID-19 in the frontline nurses were missing.
ConclusionsCOVID-19 negatively impacted on psychological and somatic status in frontline nurses. PTSD may be the most reliability and validity criteria for evaluating psychological and somatic status for frontline nurses of COVID-19.