The Mental Health Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Nurse Practitioners in British Columbia

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Sarah Crowe, MN, PMD-NP(F), NP, CNCC(C)
A. Fuschia Howard, PhD, RN
Brandi Vanderspank–Wright, PhD, RN, CNCC(C)
Laura Housden, PhD, MN-NP(F), NP
Wendy Bowles, MsN-NP(F), NP


Objective: Focusing on Nurse Practitioners (NPs) working in British Columbia, the study objectives were to examine the impact working during the pandemic had on NPs’ mental health and quality of work life. 

Research Design: This was a mixed–methods study using an online cross-sectional survey and integrating closed- and open-ended survey data. 

Main Outcome Measures: The survey consisted of three validated questionnaires: the Impact of Event Scale–Revised, the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale, and the Professional Quality of Life Scale (ProQoL), as well as four optional open-ended questions. 

Results: 51 NPs from across British Columbia participated in the study. 27% of participants experienced symptoms of PTSD at the time of the survey, 75% reported moderate to high burnout, and 49% experienced moderate to high secondary traumatic stress. The qualitative analysis revealed three main themes: (1) mental health challenges arising from stressful work environments, (2) frustration with failed leadership, and (3) a desire to continue to show up for their patients and colleagues. 

Conclusion: NPs have experienced higher than usual rates of burnout and secondary traumatic stress, and have struggled with a wide variety of workplace issues that are increasing the burden on their professional quality of life and wellbeing. These results afford an opportunity to raise awareness and promote changes to practice. 


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Crowe, MN, PMD-NP(F), NP, CNCC(C), S., Howard, PhD, RN, A. F., Vanderspank–Wright, PhD, RN, CNCC(C), B., Housden, PhD, MN-NP(F), NP, L., & Bowles, MsN-NP(F), NP, W. (2023). The Mental Health Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Nurse Practitioners in British Columbia. NP Current, 4(2). Retrieved from
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