The influence of COVID-19 on the mental health of final-year nursing students: comparing the situation before and during the pandemic
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The COVID-19 pandemic has had an important impact on the academic world. Bearing in mind that university studies already have an influence on the mental health of students, and especially those studying health sciences, we proposed this study with the aim of analysing whether the pandemic has affected the mental well-being of final-year nursing students. This was a multi-centre study, with a descriptive, longitudinal and prospective design. Mental well-being was evaluated using the General Health Questionnaire. We also examined whether the subjects had experienced the pandemic and included several sociodemographic, academic and health-related variables. A total of 305 participants were included in the study, of whom 52.1% had experienced the COVID-19 pandemic. Statistically significant differences were found between the two groups studied, in terms of their age, how they had entered university, their average mark, and their mental well-being, self-esteem, emotional exhaustion and sense of coherence. In the case of their mental well-being, a direct association was found with the pandemic situation (OR=2.32, p=0.010) and the emotional exhaustion scores (OR=1.20, p<0.001), while an inverse association was found with the score for the sense of coherence (OR=0.45, p<0.001). This study shows that the mental health of students is a significant aspect to take into consideration when training nursing staff at university to promote healthy habits and coping strategies. It is also important to train students in the use of pandemic materials, given the impact that this has been shown to have on the mental health of the students themselves, but also on that of the general public, who will be treated by these future nursing professionals.
Is part ofInternational Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 2021. In press
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