The association between mental health symptoms and quality and safety of patient care before and during COVID-19 among Canadian nurses

Publication type
Journal article
Havaei F, Tang X, Smith PM, Boamah SA, Frankfurter C
Date published
2022 Feb 01
Open Access?

(1) Background: While the association between nurse mental health and quality and safety of patient care delivery was well documented pre-pandemic, fewer research studies have examined this relationship in the context of COVID-19. This study examines the impact of various mental health symptoms experienced by nurses on quality and safety before and during the COVID-19 pandemic; (2) Methods: A secondary analysis of cross-sectional survey data from 4729 and 3585 nurses in one Canadian province between December 2019 and June-July 2020 was conducted. Data were analyzed using between group difference tests and logistic regression; (3) Results: Compared to pre-COVID-19, during COVID-19 nurses reported a higher safety grade, a greater likelihood of recommending their units for care and lower quality of nursing care. Most mental health symptoms were higher during COVID-19 and higher levels of mental health symptoms were correlated with lower ratings of quality and safety both pre- and during COVID-19; (4) Conclusion: Mental health symptoms have implications for nurses' quality and safety of patient care delivery, with the association between mental health symptoms and quality and safety following a dose-response relationship before and during COVID-19. These findings suggest that it is worthwhile for nurse mental health symptoms to be included as hospital level performance metrics.