Effects of COVID-19 and PPE Availability on Nursing PTSD Screenings


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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that is an adverse outcome of a person being exposed to a traumatic event (American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2020). During COVID-19, nurses reported experiencing multiple traumatic events that could potentially lead to PTSD. One of the main issues nurses faced during COVID-19 was access to appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Four types of PPE used to prevent COVID-19 transmission include face shields, gowns, N-95 masks, and surgical masks. This research aims to identify correlations between nurses’ responses to TSQ questions and PPE availability questions for nurses working during COVID-19. This research is based on a secondary analysis of an original data set. The original research data was collected through a cross-sectional survey in the Hernandez et al. (2021) survey study over social media with Institutional Review Board (IRB) exempt status approval. The Trauma Screening Questionnaire (TSQ) is considered a reliable screening tool to identify precursor symptoms of PTSD. A positive screening of the TSQ is identified by the participant answering positively to six out of the ten categories or more. The TSQ categories represent symptoms related to PTSD following a traumatic event. The TSQ response data for all 10 categories of the TSQ was compared with responses to accessibility for face shields, gowns, N-95 masks, and surgical masks. The collected data was analyzed with descriptive statistics by separating the populations with access to PPE and without access to PPE. These populations were compared with their answers to each category of the TSQ to determine if the variable of access to PPE affected probability of answering positively to TSQ categories. This analysis was conducted on data for each type of PPE. Resulting data was examined for any trends or correlations. Overall, nurses without access to the four types of PPE had an average of a 5.9% greater probability of answering positively to TSQ categories than nurses with access to the PPE. Face shields, gowns, and surgical masks followed this trend. N-95 masks were an exception with the access group having a mean 3% greater than the no access group. This research identifies PPE as a credible factor in changing health outcomes for traumatic experiences and possibly limiting traumatic exposures. This is represented by the higher probability of the no access nursing population of answering positively to categories of the TSQ.



Nursing, PTSD, PPE, TSQ, Survey, COVID-19