Clinician mental health, nursing shortages and the COVID-19 pandemic: Crises within crises

Int Nurs Rev. 2021 Mar;68(1):12-14. doi: 10.1111/inr.12674.


Around the world, nurses are working under enormous pressure providing care to sick and dying patients during the pandemic. Many are faced with increased stress, and other negative effects on their mental health. They are also faced with the possibility of infection and death from COVID-19. Before the pandemic there was a global shortage of nurses, but this is likely to be exacerbated by the increased demands of caring during COVID-19 as well as the usual care of non-COVID patients. One serious concern is that the pandemic and multitudinous effects on the nursing profession will exacerbate nursing attrition and their poor mental health into the future. Another serious concern is whether the profession will be able to attract sufficient numbers of nurses to care for populations into the future. Governments and health policymakers everywhere need to invest in nursing and health care and pay attention to the needs of health systems to ensure a healthy population. It is argued that without this, economies will not recover and prosper, and health systems will not be able to provide quality care.

Keywords: COVID-19; Clinicians; Mental Health; Nursing; Nursing Attrition; Nursing Shortages; Pandemic.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / nursing*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health*
  • Nurses / psychology*
  • Nurses / supply & distribution*
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2