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COVID-19 mental impact on healthcare professionals

dusanpetkovic/iStock By JENNI GOLDSTEIN, ABC News

Some healthcare workers are feeling hopeless amid the COVID-19 pandemic. An El Paso ICU nurse, who asked not to be identified, said seeing terminally ill COVID patients FaceTime their families is a terrible feeling. ABC’s Jim Ryan spoke with the people who deal with these patients every day. 

Jim Ryan’s full report can be heard on the ABC News “Perspective” podcast

“It’s just really heartbreaking to have to watch that because you feel completely helpless. There’s nothing you can offer. There’s nothing you can say that is going to make it better,” she said.”

That is why the nonprofit Mental Health America is looking into the emotions that healthcare workers on the frontlines are feeling.

According to MHA President Paul Gionfriddo, a survey that involved over a thousand healthcare workers found that 93% of them reported experiencing stress. 82% said they were experiencing emotional exhaustion.

UC Davis Medical Center nurse Melissa Johnson Camacho said that along with the exhaustion comes an overall feeling of tension in the hospital. There’s also the fear that you or a colleague might contract coronavirus and bring it home.

“I’m worried about nurses getting each other sick and not having enough nurses for all these patients that are coming in,” said Johnson Camacho.

Paul Gionfriddo said it is frustrating when healthcare workers see people refusing to follow the necessary precautionary steps against contracting the virus.

“You know, we’re not doing the one thing that we can do that would most take care of our frontline healthcare workers, and that’s do what we can to stay healthy,” said Gionfriddo.

He said  the lasting impact of covid-19 could impact healthcare workers’ decision to stay in the profession. Some people have told the MHA survey that they have had second thoughts about whether or not this is the right profession for them.

In El Paso, a nurse puts on her scrubs and heads back to the hospital to treat more COVID patients.

“I dread sometimes going into work because I just know it might not be a good day, you know, depending on the day. One person might code, 10 people might code. And it’s a very stressful situation.”

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