Nurses at Increased Risk for Insomnia and Burnout While Working During the Global Pandemic

nurse, pa, hospital staff
Given that COVID-19 has placed a heavy burden on health care workers, this study was carried out to determine burnout levels and sleep quality of nurses during the pandemic.

Nurses working on the frontline during the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic were at risk for insomnia and burnout, according to results from a cross-sectional study, published in Perspectives in Psychiatric Care.

Between May 10 and 20 2020, nurses (N=384) working in hospitals in Turkey were randomly contacted and invited to participate in this study. Nurses were assessed by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), for socio-demographic characteristics, and were asked about their experience during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The nurses were aged mean 28.03±5.99 years and 75.3% were women. Most nurses (72.3%) did not personally know anyone who had been diagnosed with the virus.

The nurses stated they had received training for COVID-19 (79%) at their institution and 46.8% had cared for a COVID-19 patient.

Men reported significantly higher levels of emotional exhaustion (25.42±8.04 vs 23.11±7.86; P =.040) and personal achievement (18.59±4.87 vs 17.22±3.79; P =.019) compared with women. Nurses who had cared for a COVID-19 patient reported significantly higher emotional burnout (25.64±8.32 vs 21.14±6.54; P <.001) and personal achievement (18.06±4.27 vs 16.63±4.04; P =.025).

Insomnia scores were observed to be positively correlated with emotional exhaustion (r, -0.234; P <.001) and depersonalization (r, -0.174; P =.004).

Emotional exhaustion was correlated with work unit (b, -0.0246; t, -3.804; P <.001), knowing someone with COVID-19 (b, -0.238; t, -3.587; P <.001), age (b, -0.269; t, -2.855; P =.005), PSQI scores (b, 0.184; t, 2.807; P =.006), and education (b, 0.133; t, 2.004; P =.047). However, together these aspects only accounted for 20% of the total variance.

This study was limited by restricting its recruitment to include only nurses and may not be generalizable to all healthcare professionals.

These data indicated that nurses were at risk for insomnia and burnout during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially nurses who were working in direct contact with patients with COVID-19. The study authors recommended that institutions should make an effort to improve the working conditions for nurses, such as ensuring adequate time for rest between work shifts.


Sayilan AA, Kulakaç N, Uzun S. Burnout levels and sleep quality of COVID‐19 heroes. Perspect Psychiatr Care. Published online November 4, 2020. doi:10.1111/ppc.12678