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INMO survey highlights worrying levels of burnout among nurses and midwives
press release 07/10/21


  • New INMO survey highlights mental impact of COVID-19 on nurses and midwives
  • COVID-19 has been mentally taxing on nurses with 90% facing mental exhaustion
  • Survey confirms 68% considering leaving profession as a consequence of COVID-19


New research by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has found that 97% of nurses and midwives believe that COVID-19 has had a negative psychological impact on the profession.  


The ‘Psychological Impact of COVID-19 on Nurses and Midwives in Ireland survey’- carried out between April and July 2021 gained an understanding of the psychological impact of COVID-19 on nurses and midwives in Ireland with over 1,905 nurses and midwives responding to the survey.


Commenting on the findings, INMO Head of Education and Professional Development, Steve Pitman said:


“This survey paints a bleak picture of how emotionally and physically taxing COVID-19 has been on our nurses and midwives right across the country.


“62% of the members who responded to the survey indicated that they had cared for patients that died as a result of COVID-19, and while nurses and midwives deal with and care for dying patients normally, the level of death in this short period far exceeded previous levels in circumstances that were far from ideal in many instances.  


“Nurses and midwives have faced an unprecedented increase in workload demands resulting directly or indirectly from the pandemic. Coupled with caring for patients with the virus, witnessing the physical and emotional effects on patients, families and loved ones has taken a psychological toll. The vast majority of our members are now telling us they’re mentally and emotionally exhausted, and this is going to have an impact on their safety and the safety of their patients.


“The INMO has provided mental health supports for members through an online digital mental health support hub, free counselling help line and emergency funding through the INMO benevolent fund,  but it is clear that the State must provide more practical resources and mental health supports  for nurses and midwives, recovery must be prioritised. The HSE must allocate adequate resources to help staff deal with the emotional trauma caused by COVID-19.”


INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha added:


“We can’t ignore the fact that two-thirds of nurses and midwives tell us they considered leaving the profession due to the impact of COVID-19.


“Before COVID-19 landed on our shores, we already sounded the alarm that the recruitment and retention of nurses and midwives was going to be something that Government and HSE needed to focus on.


“We have to make sure that the predictions in this survey do not become a reality. We must immediately put measures in place to support our workforce. Recovery must be a national priority, as this workforce make up a third of the total workforce.


“Nurses and midwives have been at work in a hazardous environment without reprieve for over eighteen months. They must gain relief from the constant overcrowding work situations faced on a daily basis, and fast tracked clinical supportive measures must be put in place. Occupational health services are simply not available nationwide and many members report long waiting times for an appointment.


“Over the coming weeks we need to see planned funding for the implementation of safe staffing across the health service, and measures to reduce pressure on hospitals. Next week’s Budget and the subsequent HSE Winter Plan must make it clear how the Government plans to ensure that safe staffing is a priority.”



Key results from Psychological Impact of COVID-19 on Nurses and Midwives in Ireland 2021 Survey include:

  • 62% of respondents cared for patients who died of COVID-19
  • 85% of respondents believed their experience of COVID-19 had a negative psychological impact on them
  • 97% believed it had a negative psychological impact on their colleagues
  • 91% said they felt mentally exhausted when off duty
  • 68% considered leaving the profession, with 25% likely or very likely to leave the profession within the next 12 months.
  • 67% are stressed about spreading virus to household
  • 22% contracted COVID, of which more than 56% had long term effects
  • Over 90% said they at least sometimes felt mentally exhausted at work and after work.
  • Most respondents reported trouble sleeping and high levels of stress and worry.


Full survey results can be obtained from the INMO Press Office

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Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (Cumann Altrai agus Ban Cabhrach na hEireann). The Whitworth Building, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7. T:+353 1 664 0600 E:inmo@inmo.ie