Background Frontline medical staff exposed to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) could be psychologically and mentally exhausted. This study examined the prevalence of depressive symptoms (depression hereafter) and their correlates and the association between depression and quality of life (QOL) in Emergency Department (ED) nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic in China.
Methods This national, cross-sectional online survey was conducted between March 15 and March 20, 2020 in China. Depression and QOL were measured using the 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire, and the World Health Organization Quality of Life Questionnaire-Brief Version, respectively.
Results The overall prevalence of depression in 1103 ED nurses was 43.61% (95% CI=40.68–46.54%). Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that working in tertiary hospitals (OR=1.647, P=0.009), direct patient care of COVID-19 patients (OR=1.421, P=0.018), and current smokers (OR=3.843, P<0.001) were significantly associated with depression. After controlling for covariates, nurses with depression had an overall lower QOL compared to those without (F(1,1103)=423.83, P<0.001).
Conclusion Depression was common among ED nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Considering the negative impact of depression on quality of patient care and nurses’ QOL, a heightened awareness of, and early treatment for depression for frontline ED nurses should be provided.
In late 2019, the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was first found in China. On the 30th January, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern (World Health Organization, 2020). In order to reduce the rapid transmission of the COVID-19 and to take care of confirmed and suspected patients, additional services, such as fever clinics and isolation infectious units, have been set up in emergency departments (ED) in many hospitals (National Health Commission, 2020).
To the best of our knowledge, this was the first study that comprehensively examined the epidemiology and correlates of depression among ED nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Close to half (43.6%; 95% CI: 40.68–46.54%) of the ED nurses suffered from depression, which is similar to the findings reported by Lai et al. (2020) in Chinese frontline clinicians (50.4%). Another Chinese study using the same assessment tool found that 31.37% of frontline clinicians reported depression during the outbreak of COVID-19 (Zheng et al., 2020).