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Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - Nurses are trained to help those in need. A new study suggests many of them may also need some help.

The Mayo Clinic study that was released Friday shows nurses have suicidal thoughts more frequently than other US workers and are “less likely to tell anyone about it.”

And the study notes the findings were based on a survey that was conducted BEFORE the Covid pandemic began.

The study authors say more than 7,000 nurses responded to the national survey on their well-being. The questions ranged “from burnout to depression.”

The study shows more than 400 nurses reported having suicidal ideation within the past year. That's 5.5% of the respondents, which is nearly 1% higher than the general workforce sample at 4.3%.

The report goes on to say:
“Those who reported suicidal ideation also said they were less likely than other respondents to seek professional help for their emotional issues. More than one-third of the nurses had at least one symptom of burnout and 40% screened positive for symptoms of depression.”

According to the researchers, “their findings indicate that the situation needs urgent attention, and systems- and practice-based interventions need to be developed and implemented to address burnout and suicidal ideation.”

The surveys were sent out in November 2017 to 86,858 nurses and a sample of 5,198 general workforce members. The study authors note the results were collected in 2018 - “before any of these nurses were confronted with effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"While the findings of our study are serious enough, we recognize the impact of the current pandemic has dramatically compounded the situation," says Liselotte Dyrbye, M.D., a Mayo Clinic internist and the senior author. "The need for system-level interventions to improve the work lives of nurses and other members of the health care team is greater than ever before."

Mayo Clinic photo

The findings appear in the American Journal of Nursing.

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