Mental health, safety and support during COVID-19: A cross-sectional study of primary health care nurses

Publication Name

Journal of Nursing Management


Aim: The aim of this study is to explore primary health care nurses' mental health, concerns and perceived safety and supports during COVID-19. Background: Respiratory pandemics have negative impacts on nurses' wellbeing. While literature is replete with hospital nurses' experiences, there is less exploration of COVID-19 impacts on primary health care nurses. Given the importance of primary health care nurses in the health system, understanding their experiences is vital. Methods: Three hundred and fifty nine primary health care nurses responded to an online cross-sectional survey. The Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS-21) was used to measure emotional state. Data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Results: DASS-21 scores indicated that 39.6% of participants were experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety or stress. Of those, 41.8% were experiencing symptoms on one scale, 26.9% were experiencing symptoms on two scales and 31.2% were experiencing symptoms across all three scales. Most participants identified that their feelings were related to COVID-19. Conclusions: COVID-19 is having a significant impact on primary health care nurses' mental health. Nurse managers need to develop strategies to effectively address nurses' concerns and effectively support them to sustain the workforce during and after the pandemic. Implications for Nursing Management: Findings from this study can inform the design of effective nurse support programmes to reduce mental health impacts and promote staff wellbeing during the pandemic.

Open Access Status

This publication may be available as open access

Funding Sponsor

University of Wollongong



Link to publisher version (DOI)