The experience of ICU nurses working on the frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic

Prof Doc Thesis

Basile, R. 2023. The experience of ICU nurses working on the frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsBasile, R.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

The impact that COVID-19 is having on the worldwide population has been made clear by the emerging literature on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which links it to a broader idea of collective trauma. However, its implications on the healthcare system are particularly significant, considering that the National Health System was already in decline before the pandemic due to persistent underfunding and, as a result, a shortage of staff. Literature on previous pandemics and more recent literature on the COVID-19 outbreak have both drawn attention to the considerable hardships that pandemics impose on frontline workers. Questions about the experience of ICU nurses working on the frontline during the COVID-19 outbreak arise in light of this multi-layered context. This question is being investigated in the current study adopting a hermeneutic phenomenological approach in order to explore participants' relationships to the world and their lived experiences related to this specific phenomenon. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six senior registered nurses who worked on the frontline as ICU nurses from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to July 2020. Interviews were transcribed and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Four Group Experiential Themes have emerged from the data: ““SURREAL” INSIDE AND OUTSIDE HOSPITALS”, “DOING (VERSUS BEING): THE ADAPTATION TO THE COVID REALITY”, “BYSTANDER: DISAPPOINTMENT WITH THE GOVERNMENT AND THE PUBLIC” and “EMOTIONAL DETACHMENT AS COPING SRATEGY”. As per the methodological underpinning, emphasis has been placed on reflexive awareness. The study seeks to contribute to a new perspective on the topic, integrating literature from Counselling Psychology, Social Justice, and the Power-Threat Meaning Framework (Johnstone & Boyle, 2020).

KeywordsCOVID-19; SARS-CoV2; pandemics; coronavirus; ICU nurses; frontline workers; mental health; trauma; counselling psychology; social justice; power-threat meaning framework
PublisherUniversity of East Ldonon
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Publication dates
Online22 Sep 2023
Publication process dates
Completed11 Jan 2023
Deposited22 Sep 2023
Copyright holder© 2023, The Author
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