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Background and purpose
Since early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted on all aspects of education and healthcare delivery.
Student nurses are in a position where they may be impacted by COVID-19 from both an educational perspective and in their role as learners in practice.
The purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to gather, appraise and synthesise research on student nurses’ well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a particular focus on mental health and sleep disturbances.
Results and areas for future research
Seventeen studies—all cross-sectional design—were included, encompassing data from nine countries and 13 247 student nurses.
Eight studies including 8175 student nurses reported on depression levels; 52% of participants suffered depression during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Three studies (n=817) reported levels of students experiencing fear (41%) and stress (30%).
The pooled prevalence of anxiety from ten studies was 32%. Over a quarter (27%) of participants in six studies (n=3359) reported sleep disturbances.
Future research should explore risk factors related to these mental health issues and sleep disturbances, and the effectiveness of interventions to reduce prevalence.
Take home messages
During the COVID-19 pandemic, over a half of student nurses reported suffering from depression, nearly one-third reported stress and/or anxiety and over a quarter experienced sleep disturbance.
Education and practice placement providers need to ensure comprehensive support is in place to bolster the mental health and well-being of student nurses during and after the pandemic.
Further research is required to help education providers develop systems that support students through periods of crisis and uncertainty, including future public health emergencies.
Patient consent for publication
Twitter @barrett1972, @alitwy
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.