The Journal of Clinical Nursing (JCN) disseminates developments and advances relevant to all spheres of nursing practice. Covering all areas of nursing - community, geriatric, mental health, pediatric – this international nursing journal promotes idea sharing between different cultures to provide a rich insight into nursing intervention and models of service delivery worldwide.

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Editor's Choice

The impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on risk factors for suicide in healthcare workers: A narrative review

Jennifer H. Zohn PhD, MA, RN-BC, LPC, NCC, Sophia Hovis RN, BSN

The paper by Zhon and Hovis (2024) is a thorough review and critique of the empirical work on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on suicide amongst health care workers. It is a stark reminder of the substantial and sustained effects of the pandemic on the mental health of those in the front line. In their review the authors retrieved 30 studies from various international settings. They identified two themes (1) The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on workrelated suicide risk factors in healthcare workers and (2) The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health-related suicide risk factors in healthcare workers. These studies show that the pandemic has had an impact on suicide factors amongst health care workers. This result is worrying, but not surprising. The literature is replete with studies that have shown the impact of the pandemic on stress and burnout amongst nurses and other health care workers (Catania et al 2021, Nowell et al 2021, Lou et al 2023), along with calls to ensure this is recognised with supportive interventions (Smith et al 2022). Many studies in the review by Zhon and Hovis (2024) discuss evidence-based strategies and resources that can be utilized to reduce suicide risk factors and will form an important resource for those practitioners engaged in supporting health care workers affected by the pandemic. It is important that this body of evidence is recognised and used by managers and leaders of health care providers. It is very clear from this review paper that the global COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted suicide risk factors in healthcare workers. Zhon and Hovis (2024) conclude by stating ‘it is time for individuals and healthcare delivery systems to implement suicide risk prevention strategies to protect healthcare workers now and in the future’. This is a clear message that – as the memory of the pandemic fades for many – that the mental health issues it has created amongst nurses and other health care professionals is still concerningly very much present.

Professor Mark Hayter, January 2024

References

Catania G, Zanini M, Hayter M, et al. (2021) Lessons from Italian front-line nurses' experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic: A qualitative descriptive study. J Nurs Manag. 2021; 29: 404–411. https://doi.org/10.1111/jonm.13194

Luo, Y., Feng, X., Wang, D., Qiao, X., Xiao, X., Jia, S., Zheng, M., & Reinhardt, J. D. (2023). Experience of clinical nurses engaged in caring for patients with COVID-19: A qualitative systematic review and meta-synthesis. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 32, 5258–5273. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocn.16613

Nowell, L., Dhingra, S., Andrews, K. & Jackson, J. A grounded theory of clinical nurses’ process of coping during COVID-19. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 2021; 00: 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocn.15809

Smith, G.D., Bradbury-Jones, C., Gelling, L., Neville, S., Pandian, V., Salamonson, Y. and Hayter, M. (2022), Addressing the mental health of nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic: Time for support. J Clin Nurs, 31: e32-e33. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocn.16383


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