Psychological responses of hospital-based nurses working during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States: A cross-sectional study Academic Article uri icon

  • Overview
  • Research
  • Identity
  • Additional Document Info
  • View All


  • Studies show decreased well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for healthcare providers from Asia. Less is known about the psychological responses of working during the pandemic on hospital-based registered nurses (RNs) in the United States (US). Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to report the well-being of U.S.-based hospital RNs working during the initial acute phase of COVID-19 and compare it with well-being among healthcare workers described in two global meta-analyses. We conducted a cross-sectional survey in May-June 2020 (N = 467). Well-being was measured using the following tools: Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7, Patient Health Questionnaire-2 for depressive symptoms, Impact of Events Scale-Revised for traumatic stress, and the Insomnia Severity Index. Compared with global rates from two meta-analyses, US-based RNs reported significantly more traumatic stress (54.6% vs. 11.4% and 21.5%; p < .001) and depressive symptoms (54.6% vs. 31.8% and 21.7%; p < .001). Rates of insomnia were also higher in U.S.-based RNs than in the meta-analysis that reported insomnia (32.4% vs 27.8%; p < .033). Rates of anxiety symptoms among US-based RNs did not differ from that reported in one meta-analysis (37.3% vs. 34.4%), while it was significantly higher in the other (37.3% vs. 22.1%; p < .001). Hospital-based RNs from the US exhibited over twice the rates of trauma and nearly double the rates of depressive symptoms than shown in reports from hospital workers globally during the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. The lasting effects of this distress are unknown and warrant ongoing evaluation and solutions to better support emotional well-being and prevent burnout in the workplace.


  • Mensinger, Janell L
  • Brom, Heather
  • Havens, Donna S
  • Costello, Alexander
  • D'Annunzio, Christine
  • Durning, Jennifer Dean
  • Bradley, Patricia K
  • Copel, Linda
  • Maldonado, Linda
  • Smeltzer, Suzanne
  • Yost, Jennifer
  • Kaufmann, Peter

publication date

  • February 2022