Thirty percent of healthcare workers have considered leaving the field, according to a survey conducted by the pandemic Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation survey.
More than half of the nearly 3,000 US health care workers surveyed said they felt burned out. About 6 in 10 said their mental health has taken its toll. While some lawmakers have passed laws partially incentivizing health workers to stay in their jobs, a local nurse said restoring the mental health of medical workers should be a priority.
“We’re burned out, we’re exhausted, so it was … it was a whirlwind,” said Robyn Sarvis, a registered nurse at Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Center.
Sarvis told NBC 7 that some of their employees left the field because of the trauma they experienced during the pandemic.
“I think the saddest part is that there are good healthcare workers, good nurses, and people that I enjoyed working with who had to make changes to support their own mental health,” Sarvis said
Sarvis, who worked on the front lines last year, reflected the long hours and countless deaths that weighed heavily on her and her colleagues.
“You have no downtime,” said Sarvis. “You don’t rest, even when you are at home you think about these things.”
California lawmakers have recognized the risk of losing health workers. This week lawmakers considered a $ 10,000 bonus to thank the health workers who worked through the pandemic. Proponents of the bill said it would also help encourage health workers to stay in the field. But on Thursday the bill was killed.
“Money is a motivator for everyone, but more than financial motivation is taking care of our mental health and making sure we have these systems so we are ready to support our nurses and healthcare when we do this workers experience again through that, ”said Sarvis.
Sarvis, a member of the United Nurses Associations of California, said she supports AB-562, known as the Frontline COVID-19 Provider Mental Health Resiliency Act. It would provide mental health resources to health care workers in addition to employee assistance programs.
“That’s the only thing that will keep us in the industry,” said Sarvis. “It will keep us from quitting our jobs because right now we need that support.”
AB-562 awaiting Senate approval.