The AANA is committed to supporting CRNAs and the healthcare team to safely deliver patient care while maintaining the health and well-being of the nurse anesthetist and the families and the community they serve.
New! COVID-19 Mental Health Support for Frontline Nurses: Urgent Request Letter to the White House and Admistration, May 19, 2020. Press release: Psychological Impact of COVID-19 Can Last for Years, Nurses Ask U.S. Administration for Help, May 20, 2020.
CRNA-Produced Wellness Content
- Fara Lekhnych, MSN, CRNA: Staying Well During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Tom Davis, DNAP, CRNA: Welcome to Club 85
- Aly McLean, CRNA: Mindfulness While Wearing an N95 Mask
- Pennie Nichols, CRNA: Present Moment Meditation; Breath Practice for Healthcare Providers on the Frontlines of COVID-19
- Maria van Pelt, PhD, CRNA and Joshua Lea, DNP, MBA, MS, CRNA: Peer Support, Self-care, and Resilience for Health Care Providers during COVID-19
- Going Viral with Matt Zinder, CRNA: Veteran, CRNA, and Hypnotherapist Discusses Stress Management New!
- Beyond the Mask with Sharon Pearce, MSN, CRNA and Jeremy Stanley, CPF, AIF:
- Ep 75: Identifying & Coping with the Mental Health Effects of COVID-19 with Linda Stone, DNP, MSN, CRNA and Rigo Garcia, MBA, APN-BC, MSN, CRNA New!
- From the Head of the Bed with Jon Lowrance, MSN, CRNA:
- Thom Bloomquist, MSN, CRNA, CH, CI, BCH: Relaxation/Stress Reduction Audio for Care Givers
- Find more by visiting COVID-19 Webinars and Facebook Live Events
Support the Front
Free COVID-19 Virtual Support Groups for Healthcare Professionals
COVID-19 is taking a heavy toll on the mental health of CRNAs and other healthcare professionals at the front lines. For more on the problem, see these articles: Time magazine: 'We Carry That Burden.' Medical Workers Fighting COVID-19 Are Facing a Mental Health Crisis, 4/10/20 and Roll Call: Virus Forebodes a Mental Health Crisis, 4/10/20.
One solution to help mitigate the stress is to join a moderated free virtual support group to share information among peers on dealing with trauma, stress, burn-out, recovery, and how to maintain self-care during tumultuous times.
Listen to the new Beyond the Mask podcast on Identifying & Coping with the Mental Health Effects of COVID-19.
Free Wellness Services
Aside from the risk of the COVID-19 virus, the stress from the pandemic’s social distancing and personal/professional related anxiety is a challenge for everyone’s mental, emotional, physical and cognitive well-being. As vital healthcare professionals treating COVID-19 patients, you’re more likely to be stressed. While everyone may respond differently, it’s important to recognize some typical signs to seek healthy ways to cope. You can also anticipate stress is coming and preemptively practice behaviors to help mitigate. See the infographic above to read about the common signs of stress, ways to relieve stress, and when/where to find support from peers or professionals.COVID-19 threats to the mental well-being of CRNAs is addressed in an interview with Tracy Castleman, CRNA where she stated she’s concerned about CRNA’s mental well-being and "significant levels of post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues once the crisis is over." She further expressed, "I’m worried what we’ll all look like emotionally when this is done." As the leader of NJANA’s COVID-19 task force, Castleman shares these AANA resources and research articles with the NJ membership twice a week.
Please considering sharing these among your colleague networks too.
Mental and Emotional Well-being
If you have a mental health condition, maintain your therapy and any prescription medicine schedule and watch for effect of stress for adjustments when needed.
The American Nurses Association provides six tips to help nurses cope during the pandemic:
- Breathe deeply (see the CRNA-Produced Wellness Content above for meditation videos)
- Practice staying the present moment
- Use cognitive-behavioral skills
- Read 3-5 minutes in a positive thinking book every day before starting work
- Stay active (see Physical Well-Being: Fitness and Fatigue below)
- Talk to someone (see Talk with Someone: Peer Support and Where to Find Professional Help below)
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: Mental Health & COVID-19
- American Nurses Association:
- ANA's COVID-19 Self-Care Package for Nurses free self-care courses to help you during and after this crisis
- Web page Mental Health Help for Nurses
- Webinar How to Survive the Pandemic with An Unbroken Spirit: Actions to Take Right Now to Stay Strong and Focused (free for ANA members and non-members), 5/14/20
- Healthy Nurse Healthy Nation (HNHN)
- American Psychiatric Association: Coronavirus and Mental Health: Taking Care of Ourselves During Infectious Disease Outbreaks
- American Psychiatric Nurses Association
- American Psychological Association: APA COVID-19 Information and Resources
- The Foundation for Art & Healing: Stuck at home (together)
- Moodfit, a mobile app customized to support nurses with wellness goals.
- Ohio State University, COVID-19 Health and Wellness Resources
- Psych Hub COVID-19 Healthcare Professionals resources hub includes videos, online courses, and PDFs
- Shedd Aquarium: Live Underwater Beauty Cam
- Shine: Care for your Coronavirus Anxiety
- Well Being Trust: Projected Deaths of Despair During COVID-19
- Wisdom Labs & Wellness Council of America webinar: Mental Health in the Workplace: The Power of Social Connection
- World Health Organization Policy Brief: COVID-19 and the Need for Action on Mental Health, see section 2. Specific Population of Concern for "First responders and frontline workers, particularly workers in health and long-term care," 5/13/20
- AHRQ: Second Victims: Support for Clinicians Involved in Errors and Adverse Events
- The Joint Commission: Resilience for Second Victims During and After COVID-19, 5/8/20
- The Wall Street Journal: Hospitals Brace for Mental-Health Crisis Among Doctors and Nurses, 5/21/20
- Nursing Economics: Use of Psychological First Aid for Nurses, May 2020
- Outpatient Surgery: Positivity During a Pandemic, May 2020
- Hospital News: Supporting Mental Health of Front-line Health Professionals, May 2020
- NY Times: 'I Can't Turn My Brain Off': PTSD and Burnout Threaten Medical Workers, 5/16/20
- Medscape Nurses: The Mental Health Aftermath of COVID-19, 5/15/20
- GritDaily: Are We Prepared for Post-Pandemic Stress Disorder (PPSD)?, 5/13/20
- Becker's Hospital Review: Nurses Say Changing Guidelines, Unsafe Conditions are Pushing them To Quit, 5/12/20
- NBC News: Why Some Nurses Have Quit During Coronavirus Pandemic, 5/10/20
- Medscape Nurses: Pandemic-Related Stress Rising Among ICU Clinicians, 5/8/20
- MedicalXpress: Nursing Are Taking Care of COVID-19 Patients. Who's Taking Care of the Nurses? 5/6/20
- MedicalXpress: Gloves and Masks Prevent Infection, But How Do we Protect Nurses' Mental Health? 5/5/20
- The Washington Post: The Coronavirus Pandemic is Pushing American into a Mental Health Crisis, 5/4/20
- NYC Health+Hospitals: Mayor DeBlasio, First Lady McCray Announce a Collaboration with U.S. Department of Defense to Help Health Care Workers on the Frontlines Cope with Stress, 4/29/20
- MedicalXpress: New Guidance to Support Psychological Needs of Nursing Staff During COVID-19 Pandemic, 4/27/20
- MedicalXpress: Survey of UK Nurses and Midwives Finds Worries Over Health, Training and Workload During COVID-19. 4/22/20
- JAMA: Cultivating Deliberate Resilience During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic, 4/14/20
- The New England Journal of Medicine: Mental Health and the COVID-19 Pandemic, 4/13/20
- Time: 'We Carry That Burden.' Medical Workers Fighting COVID-19 Are Facing a Mental Health Crisis, 4/10/20
- Roll Call: Virus Forebodes a Mental Health Crisis, 4/10/20
- STAT: The COVID-19 crisis too few are talking about: health care workers’ mental health, 4/3/20
- Psychology Today: Coping with Coronavirus Anxiety and Stress, 3/31/20
- Boundaries: 4 Things You Can Do For Your Mental Health During the COVID-19 Crisis, 3/25/20
- Harvard Business Review: Coping with Fatigue, Fear, and Panic During a Crisis, 3/23/20
Talk with Someone: Peer Support and Where to Find Professional Help
Important: When feelings or symptoms affect your ability to function, seek professional advice and therapy from a licensed clinician. If thoughts turn to harming yourself, call American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s HOTLINE: 800-273-TALK. See also www.afsp.org/covid-19
Peer support and therapy:
- Support The Front
- Free COVID-19 virtual support groups for healthcare professionals, offering both peer moderated and therapist facilitated options.
- Press release: Parkdale Center and AANA Launch Free Virtual Support for Healthcare Professionals During COVID-19 Pandemic.
- Nurses Together; Connecting Through Conversations
- Free virtual space where you can connect with your nursing peers 24/7 to share thoughts, seek support, and ask questions.
- Does your workplace have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) with counseling options?
- Check-in with your health insurance provider for virtual tele-therapy services
- Ask your healthcare professional for recommendations
- NPR: How to Get Therapy When You Can't Leave the House, 4/2/2020
- MDLive: Virtual Teletherapy
- Florida Blue: 24/7 Helpline for Florida residents to help with stress, anxiety, trauma, and grief due to the health crisis: 833-848-1762
Illinois Call4Calm Program: Residents can speak with a mental health professional for free. Text "TALK" to 552020.
- American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA): Compassionate Listening Circles - scroll down to see Virtual Support for Nurses and Healthcare Providers
- Disaster Responder Assets Network: Online COVID-19 Healthcare Peer Support Meetings
- Frontline Nurses WikiWisdom Forum
Conversation Tips to Help Support a Peer
- According to The Joint Commission, initiating a conversation can be as simple as saying, "Tell me how you're feeling, you seem stressed - how are you doing?"
- Let your colleague share their experience.
- Listen, be patient, and allow for silence.
- Express appreciation for sharing.
- Tell them you care about them.
- Reflect, interpret, and summarize.
- Honor their feelings.
- Discuss some coping strategies.
- Do they have a support system? Is it accessible?
- Share resources or ideas.
- Verify if they are going to be okay, when in doubt talk about sources for professional help.
- If you feel they are at risk of self-harm, ask directly if they are thinking about suicide.
- If the response is yes, take them seriously. Ensure someone is with them and aware of their thoughts. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text TALK to 741741
Physical Well-being: Fitness and Fatigue
A "good nights sleep" has often been a beast we long to conquer. The pandemic has changed our hypothetical battle sword to a wet noodle. Reports are releasing that describe the widespread severity of this problem; nearly 1 in 4 healthcare workers have sleep problems and insomnia is affecting more than a third of the medical staff in China.
- CDC: Managing Fatigue During Times of Crisis: Guidance for Nurses, Managers, and Other Healthcare Workers
- Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress: Better Sleep Health: A Guide for Hospital Workers
- Get Healthy U TV: Online resource for full-length workouts. Use the code "CHRISGOLD20" to sign up for GOLD membership for $20
- Pure Barre: Use the code "EXTENDEDTRIAL" for a free 30 day trial
- Planet Fitness: Free live-streamed Facebook classes daily at 6:00 pm CST
- Orangetheory Fitness: Free at-home workout videos
Grief and Healing
We take comfort in our familiar grief rituals and traditions. COVID-19 has upended lives in so many ways, and the safety of social distancing has disrupted the healing process for bereaved loved ones. Psychology Today's article, How to Cope with Bereavement During the COVID-19 Pandemic, recommends "having a clear coping plan" in place and some strategies to support well-being at this difficult time.
Processing grief can be delayed due to coronavirus circumstances, see the American Psychological Association's article Grief and COVID-19: Saying Goodbye in the Age of Physical Distancing for information on prolonged grief disorder.
- Advisory Board: 3 ways to help your team navigate grief in crisis
- Harvard Business Review: The Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief
- MIT Technology Review: The lonely reality of grieving online during social isolation
- WELCOA: The Elephant in the Room: Navigating Workplace Grief
- Wise@Work: The Power of Acceptance When Facing Grief and Loss
Students and Coping
"We are all in this together. We are facing this uncharted territory together. It's scary and it's ok to feel scared, angry, and want answers. But people don't have answers for us, even our schools, because we have never gone through anything like this before. I know the finish line looks a lot further now more than ever, but it's still there."
Adrienne Chavez, BSN, SRNA; FY20 Health & Wellness Committee Student Representative
- American Psychological Association:
- From the Head of the Bed with Jon Lowrance, MSN, CRNA:
Healthcare Leadership Support for Clinician Well-being
*Source: National Academy of Medicine: Strategies to Support the Health and Well-Being of Clinicians During the COVID-19 Outbreak
One example of a healthcare company providing wellness support for clinicians on the COVID front-lines is Envision Healthcare. They are providing counseling, stress management, and crisis peer support, in addition to other resources.
- National Academy of Medicine Webinar: Supporting Clinician Well-Being During COVID-19
- Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress: Grief Leadership During COVID-19
- The Joint Commission recommends that managers follow up with second victims in real time. Conversation starters can include: “This has to be difficult for anyone to handle, how are you doing?” 5/8/20
- Health Tech Digital: Celebrating Nurses with more Time to Care, 4/17/20
- The American Journal of Emergency Medicine: Preserving mental health and resilience in frontline healthcare workers during COVID-19, 4/15/20
- Modern Healthcare: Protecting the healthcare workforce: a prerequisite in the COVID-19 crisis, 4/7/20
- Annals of Internal Medicine: COVID-19: Peer Support and Crisis Communication Strategies to Promote Institutional Resilience, 4/6/20
- Annals of Internal Medicine: Supporting Clinicians During the COVID-19 Pandemic, 3/20/20
- AANA COVID-19 - Practice Resources for information on how to volunteer
- Julie George, CRNA, MS: DIY Level 3 Face Masks
- Blood Donations - news from FDA
Blood donation message from Jaclyn Beck, SRNA
"Senior SRNA here, virtually graduating in May with my DNP from OldDominion University. Being at this point of my training, just prior to graduation, it is a challenging place to be in with the COVID-19 pandemic. Was feeling extra helpless and anxious with all the crazy happening in the world. I want to be help the community, my friends, and colleagues in any way I could, but that essentially means staying home. That led me to the American Red Cross and a blood donation so I took a break from board prep to go donate. Myself and the staff at the Red Cross both took precautions to do this safely and I was only in contact with one person, who was wearing a mask the whole time.
To the CRNAs working through all of this, thank you for all you’re doing! If you’re out of work due to this or a student out of clinical, consider going to donate. It may seem that everything in the world is shut down right now, but as healthcare providers we all know the need for transfusions never stops. Donation centers are still open and people still depend on transfusions so if you can, consider taking a small step to make a difference by donating! And be sure to rep your AANA gear if you have it, mine sparked a nice conversation about nurse anesthetists!"
Alcohol and Other Drugs, Recovery Resources
Substance use disorder (SUD) and COVID-19's potential influence:
- COVID-19 stress and isolation can be an impetus for over use of alcohol or other drugs.
- For those in active substance use disorder, forced abstinence resulting from the close of bars and liquor stores or lack of access to opioids, can trigger potentially life-threatening withdrawal.
- For individuals in addiction recovery, multiple challenges and new roadblocks are created through changes affecting in-patient treatment and lack of in-person peer recovery support programs:
- List of virtual options to safely support sobriety at www.AANA.com/AIR.
- Annals of Internal Medicine: An Epidemic in the Midst of a Pandemic: Opioid Use Disorder and COVID-19, 4/2/2020
- Modern Healthcare: Virus Outbreak Creates New Challenges for Addiction Recovery, 4/1/20
- Portland Press Herald: For Those in Addiction Recovery, Social Distancing is a Recipe for Relapse, 3/19/20
For alcohol/other drug related concerns, please see www.AANA.com/AboutPeerAssistance and know help if available when needed: Reach out to the AANA Peer Assistance Helpline 800-654-5167 for 24/7 live confidential support.
Financial/Employment Related Stress
Articles from the Frontline
- Pennsylvania Capital-Star: Pa. should utilize nurse anesthetists in COVID-19 response | Opinion; written by Jessica Poole, DNAP, CRNA
- The New York Times: Protect the Doctors and Nurses Who Are Protecting Us, 4/1/20
- CNN: What it's like for health care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, 3/29/20
- MedPage: Staying Sane and Current on COVID-19 (for those caring for patients), 3/27/20
- Psychiatry Advisor: Healthcare Workers Report Elevated Psychiatric Symptoms Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, 3/23/20
- The Washington Post: Doctors and nurses are already feeling the psychic shock of treating the coronavirus, 3/18/20