Factors affecting frontline Korean nurses’ mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

Mijung Cho, Oksoo Kim, Yanghee Pang, Bohye Kim, Hyunseon Jeong, Jisun Lee, Heeja Jung, Sun Young Jeong, Hyun Young Park, Hansol Choi, Hyunju Dan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Aim: To identify the factors affecting fear, anxiety and depressive symptoms among frontline nurses working with COVID-19 patients or are in charge of COVID-19 screening in Korea. Background: Nurses are at a higher risk of COVID-19 infection because they are in closer, longer-duration contact with patients. These situations can negatively affect the mental health of nurses. Methods: This study analysed data from COVID-19 module in the Korean Nurses’ Health Study. Data from 906 participants were analysed. To identify the factors influencing mental health, descriptive statistics, Pearson’s correlation and hierarchical multiple regression analyses were performed. Results: Caring for patients who are COVID-19-positive increased levels of fear, anxiety and depressive symptoms of nurses. The hospital safety climate influenced mental well-being among nurses. Conclusion: Caring for patients with COVID-19 had a negative impact on fear, anxiety and depressive symptoms. However, the higher was the perceived hospital safety climate, the lower were the nurses’ psychological symptoms. Further research on the mental health of nurses is warranted. Implications for nursing and health policy: Institutions should manage human resources to enable periodic rotation of nurses’ work and working periods related to COVID-19. In addition, hospital managers should provide sufficient personal protective equipment, related education, and safety climate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-265
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Nursing Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 International Council of Nurses


  • COVID-19
  • anxiety
  • depressive symptoms
  • fear
  • hospital safety climate
  • mental health pandemic
  • nurses


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