Nurses were at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic, and now there are efforts to make sure they get the mental help they all deserve.
Rutgers officially launched a helpline for nurses. The confidential hotline is for nurses and their loved ones.
The “Nurse2Nurse” hotline will be staffed by current and retired nurses who are ready to listen.
“We know that nurses tend to really focus on helping others and we want to be a place where they can come and help support themselves and allow us to help support them,” says Matthew Buragina, supervising mental health specialist for Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care.
Buragina says that the hotline project has been in the works since before the pandemic began.
“And then when the pandemic happened, that’s obviously amplified the need, so we’ve been able to work with the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund and the New Jersey Nursing Initiative and the New Jersey Hospital Association who have been really crucial to getting this line up and running,” he says.
The center cites data that about two-thirds of nurses say they feel overwhelmed. More than half reported feelings of anxiety.
And while there is already a team assigned to the hotline, Burgina says that he would love to see more nurses sign on to help.
“Staffing has just become an issue across the board in every kind of employment setting but we are still actively looking for nurses who are looking to support other nurses,” he says. “So anyone who is interested in playing a peer support role, we’d be more than happy to have them support the team.”
The hotline is completely anonymous and confidential. Calls are not recorded. It operates Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. It can be reached at 844-687-7301
Current or former nurses who want to join the hotline team can contact Matthew Buragina at 732-913-9399 or mjb525@ubhc.rutgers.edu.