ENA Study Explores Secondary Traumatic Stress in Near Real-time

September 17, 2021 Research

ENA research first of its kind for emergency nursing

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (Sept. 17, 2021) – Newly published research by the Emergency Nurses Association that analyzed Twitter content found health care providers had deep concerns and high stress levels due to lack of personal protective equipment during the first three months of the pandemic.

The research - “The Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on US healthcare workers: A Discursive Analysis of Frontline Secondary Traumatic Stress Using Twitter Data” - collected and assessed Tweets using the hashtags #GetMePPE and #GetUsPPE to evaluate real-time PTSD during the pandemic’s formative stages in early 2020. The study used the availability of personal protective equipment as a lens to understand the physical and psychological dangers front-line health care workers felt.

“In both methodology and in philosophical approach, this is a new type of study for the ENA research team and emergency nursing,” said lead researcher and Director of ENA’s Institute for Emergency Nursing Research Lisa Wolf, PhD, RN, CEN, FAEN, FAAN. “The findings of this study are illuminating in its message intensity and consistency, and we hope this study illuminates the need to examine and address the psychological impact of COVID-19 on the future of the U.S. health care workforce.”

One thousand Tweets were randomly selected from a dataset of 443,918 Tweets published by 281,021 unique authors between March 1 and June 30, 2020. In addition to stress levels surrounding PPE, other Tweet topics included fear of illness, concern over the rapid pace of COVID-19 spread and frustration about being called heroes.

“ENA is a proud leader in emergency nursing research and this new methodology continues to prove that point,” said ENA President Ron Kraus, MSN, RN, EMT, CEN, ACNS-BC, TCRN. “The results of this research help us further push the importance of supporting our front-line health care providers as we see how significantly all of us are affected by the traumatic stress of this pandemic. Not only are our health care workers impacted, but so are patient outcomes.”

The full study is available on Spotlight on Research.

The Emergency Nurses Association is the premier professional nursing association dedicated to defining the future of emergency nursing through advocacy, education, research, innovation, and leadership. Founded in 1970, ENA has proven to be an indispensable resource to the global emergency nursing community. With 50,000 members worldwide, ENA advocates for patient safety, develops industry-leading practice standards and guidelines and guides emergency health care public policy. ENA members have expertise in triage, patient care, disaster preparedness, and all aspects of emergency care. Additional information is available at www.ena.org.