According to a new survey of 1,171 hospital-employed nurses working in North Carolina, it would appear that depression affects 18 percent of people in this group. This incidence rate is twice larger than that affecting the general population (9 percent).
One in five nurses will go on to develop symptoms associated with depression, whereas only one in ten people in the general population will. The investigation that established these numbers was conducted by scientists based at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).
Scientists focused their investigation on figuring out whether the severity and incidence of depression among nurses was affecting the quality of the healthcare services patients received on the hospital bed.
One of the most interesting conclusions of the new work was that nurses are oftentimes unable to recognize the symptoms of depression within themselves, even though they handle patients suffering from the condition all day long.
This inability to detect the condition is very interesting in itself, since nurses know that stressful occurrences can easily trigger depression. The very nature of their profession exposes them to many such situations every day.
“People assume because we’re nurses that we take care of ourselves. We don’t want to ever consider ourselves as not the cheerful happy nurse going into work every day,” HealthLeaders Media heard from expert Susan Letvak, as quoted by PsychCentral
Letvak holds an appointment as an associate professor of nursing at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro School of Nursing. The study suggests that advanced practice nurses (APN) should keep an eye out for how the other nurses are doing.
APN could then inform the others about the confidential resources at their disposal for managing the condition. At the same time, they could also monitor how patients are being taken care of by depressed nurses, in order to avoid any unpleasant incident.
Details of the new investigation appear in a paper published in the latest issue of the Clinical Nurse Specialist journal.