Almost two thirds of nurses who have recovered from Covid-19 are still experiencing post-viral fatigue, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said.
According to the recent survey, 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 and palpitations.
Four in five 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 on Tuesday morning, in a bid to highlight the importance of safe staffing in the coming months.
INMO general secretary Phil Ni 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.”