EKU professor pushes for mental health support for health care workers

EKU nurse talks about mental health among healthcare workers, nursing shortage
Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 9:58 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Ky. (WKYT) - After 16 months in the pandemic, health care workers are fighting a battle of their own.

“People tend to be resilient if they can see an end,” said Dr. Rachael Hovermale, the coordinator for EKU’s Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program Coordinator

But as hospitalizations surge again, nurses are left with more ‘what if’s’ than answers.

“You can go where everything is just kind of dull, you’re just going through the motions. To irritability, being very negative. That’s a direct correlation to not dealing with the issues at hand.”

Dr. Hovermale explained that many health care workers are battling with their mental health, experiencing what is known as compassion fatigue.

“If you’re not processing those feelings, they bottle up like a tea kettle that isn’t vented. It just gets hotter and then it just blows up.”

Dr. Hovermale stressed the importance of hospitals providing counselors and self-care in-services, ways to help nurses stay at the bedside longer. Encouraging nurses to seek help when they need it.

“They’re not only having to do the nursing tasks, but they’ve had to be a lot more emotionally available and that can be very taxing, especially if you’re not used to it.”

Dr. Hovermale has been working with Baptist Health to provide her own mental health services to health care workers.

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