BC Nurses Union President Christine Sorensen believes more nurses than ever are suffering from high levels of stress due to the pandemic.

A recent survey in conjunction with UBC found 41 percent of nurses surveyed are suffering from severe levels of depression.

That number sat at 31 percent last fall before the pandemic struck.

Sorensen told Vista Radio this is not a trend they want to see continue.

“It is telling me that we have nurses who are struggling personally with their own mental health in the workplace and it’s more important than ever that mental health support is provided for them and all healthcare workers as they brace for the COVID-19 surge this fall.”

“What we found is that before the pandemic nurses were greatly impacted by the nursing shortage and burnout by workloads and we had been reporting on that. Following the arrival of the pandemic, it’s added more strain and stress to those working in the health care system.”

There is also another major concern weighing on the minds of health care workers.

“They are worried that they will contract COVID in the workplace, that they may be required to stay home because they are sick or be in contact with somebody who may have had COVID, that eliminates their ability to go to work and have a family.”

She added nurses need to have unfettered access to PPE they need to conduct their job.