Psychological experiences of nurses in COVID-19 isolation wards in China: A qualitative examination

Guoguo Chen, Ping Zou, Honghua Zhou, Xiaowen Shen, Chenchen Gao, Jinhong Ying, Sabrina L. Balkaran, Chunmei Zhang


Objective: This study explores the psychological experiences and factors affecting the psychological health of isolation ward nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic in China.  Findings from this study will inform on future initiatives that can support frontline nurses, improve their ability to cope with public health emergencies, and create effective nursing management strategies.

Methods: A qualitative phenomenological research method was applied. In-depth interviews with 10 first-line clinical nurses in isolation wards during the COVID-19 pandemic were conducted. Collected data were analyzed with the Colaizzi seven-step analysis method.

Results: Three themes were emerged, including the evolution of the psychological health of nurses, positive factors that affect psychological health, and negative factors that affect psychological health. Nurses experienced various changes to their psychological health during the pandemic. When nurses were supported by team members, appreciated by their patients, and cared for by their organizations, their psychological health was enhanced. When nurses felt disconnected from their families and experienced physical discomfort due to protective equipment, their psychological health was negatively impacted.

Conclusions: Changes in the psychological health of isolation ward nurses should be constantly monitored. Proper strategies should be implemented to reduce the physical discomfort experienced by nurses due to protective equipment, increase perceptions of familial and workplace support, and determine ways to increase displays of patient appreciation for nursing work.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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