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Two thirds of nurses recovered from COVID still experiencing fatigue
Press Release - 21.07.20
 
65% of nurses who have recovered from COVID-19 are still experiencing post-viral fatigue, according to a recent survey by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).
 
Of the 545 respondents who said they had recovered from the virus, 497 (91%) stated they continued to experience symptoms, which also included mental health difficulties, headaches and breathing problems.
 
Other post-viral symptoms cited by respondents included:
• Anxiety, trouble concentrating or “brain fog”
• Dizziness/ light headedness
• Recurring fever
• Palpitations
4 in 5 (81%) of all 7,000 nurses and midwives surveyed (including those who did not contract COVID-19) said that working in the health service during the pandemic substantially or somewhat impacted their mental health. 
 
The INMO will present their findings to the Oireachtas Special Committee on COVID response this morning (Tuesday), highlighting the importance of safe staffing over the coming months.
 
INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: 
 
“Fatigue is a major risk to patient and staff safety – especially in a pandemic. Many of our members are reporting that despite recovery, they are still facing exhaustion.
 
“The impacts of this virus can be long-lasting, so nurses and midwives returning to work after recovery are going to need support. For many, there will be a long road to full recovery.
 
“They will also need certainty that past mistakes are being corrected. The government should empower the Health and Safety Authority to investigate cases.
 
“As winter approaches, frontline staff face a toxic combination of fatigue and understaffing. Safe staffing levels are the only way to ensure that our health service is not overwhelmed. We urgently need a clear plan to ramp up health service capacity before winter hits.”
 
-end-
 
Notes to Editors:
- INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha will be speaking with the Oireachtas COVID response committee on Tuesday 21st at 10am. She will be joined by a Dublin staff nurse who previously contracted the virus and is facing ongoing symptoms.
 
- The INMO’s survey was online, sent via email to our members. 7,068 nurses and midwives responded, 9.2% (646) of whom tested positive for COVID at some point. 
 
Below are the ongoing symptoms reported by those who have recovered from the virus (545):
 

- Fatigue

65%

- Nausea

4%

- Breathing/respiratory problems

21%

- Headaches

22%

- Mental health difficulties such as stress or anxiety

33%

- Chest pain

10%

- Other

40%

Other post-viral symptoms cited by respondents included:

  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle and/or joint pain
  • Congestion or sinus pain
  • Dizziness/ light headedness
  • Insomnia
  • Recurring fever
  • Palpitations
  • Chest tightness
  • Anxiety and trouble concentrating or “brain fog”
 
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