Hospital nurses suffer depression at twice the rate of the general population (18 percent compared to 9 percent), according to researchers at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The study included surveys from 1,171 hospital-employed nurses in North Carolina to investigate whether a nurse’s depression affects the quality of care patients receive.
Although stressful occurrences — which can trigger depression — are common in health care settings, the research revealed that nurses don’t always recognize depression in themselves.
“People assume because we’re nurses that we take care of ourselves,” Susan Letvak, associate professor of nursing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro School of Nursing told HealthLeaders Media. “We don’t want to ever consider ourselves as not the cheerful happy nurse going into work every day.”
The researchers said that advanced practice nurses are in a good position to recognize depression in staff nurses, as well as inform them of available and confidential resources to help manage the illness.
Furthermore, advanced practice nurses should pay special attention to patient care mistakes or other health problems that make it difficult for nurses to get through the day, Letvak said. She also suggests having discussions about depression in staff meetings, HealthLeaders noted.
The study is published in the journal Clinical Nurse Specialist.
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation