Depression among New Graduate Nurses Working in ICU and Medical-Surgical Units

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Valery Bessmertnyy
California State University, Chico, Chico, CA, USA
Keith Taylor
California State University, Chico, Kenwood, CA, USA

Recent studies report that in the US healthcare workers suffer the third highest incidence of depressive episodes  among all occupations. These studies, however, do not address the levels of depression in specific populations within the nursing community. Nurses who are depressed use more sick days, have lower productivity, higher rates of medication errors, and offer a lower quality of care. The rate of depression for new graduate nurses on different units in the hospital is unknown. This is especially important regarding medical-surgical units, as this is where most new graduate nurses are initially employed, and ICU, which is a high-intensity unit that attracts new nurse.

Objective: The purpose of this research is to gain knowledge of the rates of depression among new graduate nurses employed on medical-surgical units and intensive care units. This is important as depression is a significant contributing factor to nursing turnover with 60% of new graduate nurses leaving their first job within 6 months and 20% leaving the profession entirely.

Method: 108 new graduate nurses will be recruited from similar sized hospitals in in the Sacramento, San Francisco, and Los Angeles areas. They will be between the ages of 22-40 and have at least one, but no more than two years of employment in either a medical-surgical or ICU unit. These nurses will also be graduates of California BSN programs and working on night shifts. Data will be collected through the self-administered nine question PHQ-9 survey, which is based on the depression diagnostic criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The Chi Square test of independence will be utilized for data analysis.

Discussion: This research and data analysis can assist in identifying the occurrence of depression among new graduate nurses during transition into their professional lives. This holds the potential to increase patient safety, quality of care, and unit productivity, while also reducing medication errors, sick days, and nursing turnover. Implications include addressing the need for programs aimed to reduce stress levels, workload, and improve working conditions of new graduate nurses.