Who is caring for nurses? A qualitative description of psychological influence of COVID-19 pandemic on RNs’ self-efficacy and job satisfaction

Venise Bryan, Jennifer M.L. Stephens, Andrea Shippey-Heilman, Gwen R. Rempel


Working while undertaking graduate education in nursing is challenging at any time. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many nurses continued to work on the frontline while completing their graduate studies. Healthcare workers, including nurses, were routinely exposed to several types of psychological trauma during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study, we seek to generate an understanding of the psychological influence of COVID-19 on registered nurses’ (RNs’) self-efficacy and job satisfaction while commencing graduate studies in nursing and working in clinical practice during the pandemic. A qualitative descriptive design was used to explore written reflections from 72 RNs enrolled in their first Master of Nursing graduate course at an online university. The RNs’ online discussion postings related to the impact of the pandemic on nursing. Data were analysed using content and thematic analysis. Analysis revealed five overriding themes around job satisfaction and self-efficacy: level of professional involvement and guilt, communication of information and leadership, psychological and physical wellbeing, the safety of self and others, and relationships to and within the nursing profession. Overall, a strong sense of kinship contributed to job satisfaction and self-efficacy. Findings confirmed the need for so-called “aftercare” for nurses by leadership and administrators. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been considerable on the individual nurse’s sense of self-efficacy and job satisfaction, and this is particularly noted in nurses who commenced graduate studies during the pandemic.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v13n9p38

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

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

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