Nurses celebrated during Nurse Appreciation Week

Pandemic impact on nurses' mental health

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - This week is Nurse Appreciation week. While we appreciate their work every day, this year it means even more because they’ve helped us and our loved ones during the pandemic.

“COVID over the last year has been tough on healthcare,” said Matt Oden, Emergency Services Director, Brookwood Baptist.

Matt Oden has worked in emergency services care since 2006, but his work in 2020 into 2021 might be his most memorable experience on the job.

“Without a doubt. With resources. It’s unprecedented times,” said Oden. “Everybody was burning late hours. Double shifts.”

The commitment to service is because nurses care, but it doesn’t always mean it’s an easy burden to carry.

“In the 400 pages of comments, and I think there were about 13 comments, there was information about exhausted, tired, stressed,” said Dr. Lindsey Harris, President of the Alabama State Nursing Association.

Two surveys conducted by the Alabama State Nursing Association collected data from hundreds of nurses across the state at the peak of the pandemic and again in March.

“We always talk about how resilient our nurses are,” said Harris. “But we had to make sure we support them.”

The State Nursing Association has partnered with the Alabama Counseling Association for a new program called Nurse 2 Nurse that conducts facilitated conversations to give nurses an outlet. Providing support during the month nurses are celebrated and beyond.

“Nurses have been placed in a precarious situation and they have to come home and process it, and it could be overwhelming,” said Dr. Jacques Austin, President of Alabama Counseling Association.

As we celebrate nurses this week, staff say the outside community can support them through words and action.

“I had someone ask me the other day - what can we do. Thank a health care worker. It doesn’t have to be a nurse. We’re all in this together,” said Oden.

If you are interested in the mental health resources for nursing staff, visit this website.

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