Today’s Read: 3.5 minutes
Today we take on the distress of Covid-19, psychologically and physically. In addition, mindful self-care can improve professional quality of life and there is an update to colorectal cancer screening guidelines. Plus, we might have all been witches in the 15th century.
Nurses more likely to be hospitalized for Covid-19
Among healthcare professionals, nurses are at significant risk of contracting Covid-19, according to a CDC report of 6,760 hospitalizations across 13 states. Of the adults hospitalized from March to May of this year, 6% were healthcare workers and more than a third of those were either nurses or nursing assistants. Of those hospitalized workers, 27% were admitted to the ICU, and 4% died during their hospital stay.
Michelle Mahon, assistant director of nursing practice at National Nurses United told The New York Times that the findings were no surprise. Just last month the union reported that more than 1,700 health care workers have so far died from the virus.
Despite taking more precautions and the availability of treatments improving, the report shows how vulnerable nurses are because of underlying health conditions, which include diabetes and high blood pressure. Almost three-quarters of those hospitalized were obese. In addition, most of the hospitalized nurses were female, older, and Black.
The majority had cared directly for patients, whether in a hospital, home, or school setting. And while the study couldn’t determine whether the virus was contracted at work or elsewhere, it highlighted the risk frontline nurses face because of their close contact to patients.
Symptoms could be Covid-19 or distress
Distress can manifest as physical symptoms. Now, we have a little insight into how this may occur in frontline healthcare workers, thanks to a multinational, multicenter study of 906 healthcare workers in Singapore and India that included: doctors, nurses, allied healthcare workers, administrators, clerical staff, and maintenance workers.
According to the results of survey answers, a number of participants screened positive for mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, stress, and PTSD. Headache and lethargy were the most common physical symptoms. A third of the participants reported experiencing more than four physical symptoms. “Although fatigue and headache may be vague and often unsubstantiated, these physical symptoms should not be neglected as they may be a reflection of underlying psychological distress,” the researchers write.
What’s more: many of these symptoms mimic those of Covid-19, which may cause distress as well. Researchers suggest once a Covid-19 diagnosis has been ruled out, psychological interventions for healthcare workers with physical symptoms should be considered.
Mindful self-care + meaning made = higher professional quality of life
Recent research evaluating the factors that contribute to professional quality of life of palliative care workers (PCW) found that engaging in mindful self-care activities had a direct and positive effect.
A total of 141 multidisciplinary palliative and hospice care clinicians from a county-wide agency completed The Mindful Self-Care Scale–33, The Integration of Stressful Life Experiences Scale, and The Professional Quality of Life Scale. Participation in mindful self-care activities predicted higher levels of professional quality of life and meaning made. Similarly, higher meaning made resulted in higher professional quality of life.
Based on this study published in the International Journal of Stress Management, if you’re in palliative care, taking the time for mindful self-care activities such as journaling, moving your body or breathing exercises, and meaning-making interventions can help increase your professional quality of life. Find ways to add mindful self-care to your life here.
ONE BIG NUMBER
The recommended age to be screened for colorectal cancer by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. This is five years earlier than the previous recommendation age, 50, to start this screening.