Working on a designated COVID-19 unit: Exploring nurse perceptions and experiences

Michelle Dellaria Doas


Objective: The COVID-19 global pandemic has had a distressing effect on clinical nursing units, creating unique challenges for the nursing profession. These unprecedented challenges included constant fear of the unknown, major disruptions to daily routines, the need to adapt to the realities of new safety protocols, the need for continuous donning and doffing of PPE, and an alarming increase in patient acuity and death. Rapid increases in COVID-19 hospital admissions prompted hospital administrators to designate specific medical-surgical nursing units as covid units. As a result, nurses faced the real possibility of bringing the virus home to their loved ones and possibly contracting a deadly disease. To understand the impact of COVID-19, a study was conducted to assess nurses’ perceptions, morale, emotions, current knowledge and susceptibility to developing compassion fatigue.

Methods: Content analysis was used to identify registered nurses’ perceptions and experiences while providing nursing care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, data was collected to assess participants’ emotional and physical well-being, knowledge and susceptibility to developing compassion fatigue.

Results: Nurses’ qualitative responses were categorized into seven themes. Additionally, compassion fatigue knowledge and susceptibility responses were analyzed.

Conclusions: Associated feedback, including narrations, provided a framework to assist nurses with accessing resources to manage stressors, combat compassion fatigue symptoms, promote resiliency, and increase communication skills.

Full Text:



Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

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

Copyright © Sciedu Press 
To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.