Symptom cluster of ICU nurses treating COVID-19 patients

Symptom cluster of ICU nurses treating COVID-19 pneumonia patients in Wuhan, China

Authors: Yifan T, Ying L, Chunhong G, Jing S, Rong W, Zhenyu L, Zejuan G, Peihung L

Photo by H Shaw on Unsplash


In treating highly infectious COVID-19 pneumonia, ICU nurses face a high risk of developing somatic symptom disorder (SSD). The present study aims to investigate the symptoms and causes of SSD of ICU nurses treating COVID-19 pneumonia. The research results are expected to provide evidence for the establishment of a better management strategy.


This study enrolled a total of 140 ICU nurses who were selected by Jiangsu Province Hospital to work in Wuhan (the epicenter of the COVID-19 epidemic in China) on 3rd February 2020. A questionnaire "Somatic Symptom Disorders for ICU Nurses in Wuhan No.1 Hospital" was designed based on the "International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health" (ICF). Exploratory factor analysis was performed to cluster the symptoms, and logistic regression analysis to find the risk factors of the symptoms.


Five major symptoms were chest-discomfort-and-palpitation (31.4%), dyspnea (30.7%), nausea (21.4%), headache (19.3%), and dizziness (17.9%). In exploratory factor analysis, the symptoms were classified into three clusters: Cluster A of breathing and sleep disturbances (dizziness, sleepiness, dyspnea); Cluster B of gastrointestinal complaints and pain (nausea, headache), and Cluster C of general symptoms (xerostomia, fatigue, chest-discomfort-and-palpitation). In Cluster A, urine/feces splash, sex, and sputum splash were independent predictive factors. In Cluster B, fall of protective glasses and urine/feces splash were independent predictive factors. In Cluster C, urine/feces splash and urine/feces clearance were independent predictive factors.