Virginia nurse warns burnout can lead to trauma: 'That kind of stress takes its toll'

Post-pandemic, nurses still reporting high levels of burnout, mental health strains
Nurse Mary Crutchfield
Posted at 7:22 PM, May 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-14 19:22:53-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. — May marks Mental Health Awareness Month and this is week is National Nurses Week.

Nurses are still reporting high levels of burnout and mental health strains following the COVID-19 pandemic, though things have improved a bit.

Mary Crutchfield is a psychiatric nurse and said many of the nurses she sees leaving the profession work in emergency rooms. Crutchfield, who is with the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) not only treats mental health patients but says the post-pandemic has been tough on nurses' mental health, as well.

"Healthcare professionals really struggled after the pandemic," Crutchfield said. "It took a toll on everybody’s mental health who are working in the hospitals. I never thought it would come to this for nurses. I have friends that would rather walk a dog or go Door Dashing or Uber."

According to, burnout is one of the leading causes of nurses leaving the profession. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a shortage of more than 200,000 registered nurses between 2023 and 2031.

The shortage is also being felt in Hampton Roads.

"It’s not just burnout. It can cause trauma working in that environment for so long. Working under that kind of stress takes its toll," Crutchfield said.

She says it’s also been tough for patients seeking mental health care.

"In private practice, we have a waiting list until July or August to be seen," she said. "If someone is in a mental health crisis, they can’t wait that long. We really struggle to meet the urgency of the needs people have right now. I think it’s because people finally realize mental health is so important. Before the pandemic, people weren’t really recognizing that."

On Friday night, mental healthcare workers all came together for a masquerade ball to celebrate mental healthcare workers in Hampton Roads hosted by the National Alliance of Mental Illness Coastal Virginia.

The CBS 6 Problem Solvers are Working For You.

Contact the CBS 6 Problem Solvers

📱 Download CBS 6 News App
The app features breaking news alerts, live video, weather radar, traffic incidents, closings and delays and more.