Psychological Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Nurses Employed by the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza
Keywords:Nurses, Psychological impact, Gaza Strip, Palestinian Ministry of Health, COVID-19, GAD-7
Introduction: Coronaviruses hit the world at the end of 2019, but the first two cases inGaza Strip were diagnosed on 21 March in the quarantine centers. Nurses working with infected or suspected cases are at high risk to get the disease which may generate anxiety among them. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the psychological impact of COVID-19 pandemic on Palestinian nurses employed by the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza Strip, Palestine.
Materials and methods: A toal of 424 nurses completed an online questionnaire packet that included demographic data and the 7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD-7).
Results: Results from this study revealed that while only 22.4% of the participants worked at quarantine centers designated to take care of infected/suspected cases of COVID-19, but a huge number of them (77.6%) got in direct contact with infected people. Variant levels of anxiety were reported by participants with 35.4% of them having mild, 23.6 % moderate and 13.4 % severe levels of anxiety while 27.6% did not manifest anxiety.
Factors contributed to the level of anxiety include having a family member diagnosed with COVID-19, a family member died with COVID-19 and getting in direct contact with people infected/ suspected to have COVID-19.
Conclusions and implications for practice: The high level of exposure to contamination of Corona virus represent risk factor of nurse's fear and anxiety through their contact with patients, friends, relatives and family members. Psycho-social support programs as setting channels of one-to-one online or phone counseling for nurses may be effective to alleviate negative psychological effects and to enhance the mental health of nurses.
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