Nurse-Patient Communication and Relationship When Wearing Personal Protective Equipment: Nurses’ Experience in a COVID-19 Ward.

Publication date: Jul 07, 2023

Little is known about which communication strategies nurses carried out and whether the nurse-patient relationship has been altered due to the mandated use of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study describes how nurse-patient communication and relationships took place from the point of view of nurses engaged in caring for patients with COVID-19. A qualitative descriptive study design following COREQ guidelines was conducted. Semi-structured telephone interviews with nurses working in the COVID ward of an Italian university hospital were performed between September 2020 and June 2021. Ten nurses were recruited using convenience sampling. One overarching theme, three main themes, and nine sub-themes were identified. The overarching theme ‘The in-out relationship: ‘in here and out there’ and ‘inside me and out of me’ included the main themes ‘A closed system different from normal’, ‘Uncovering meaningful human gestures’, and ‘A deep experience to live”. The relational nature of nursing-where ‘me and you’ and the context are the main elements-leads nurses to find new ways of interacting and communicating with patients, even in a new situation that has never been experienced. Enhancing human gestures, thinking about new contexts of care, and educating new generations to maintain human-to-human interaction, regardless of the context of care, are the directives to be explored for creating the future of nursing care.

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Concepts Keywords
Italian COVID-19
June experience
Live interaction
Nurses nurse–patient communication
Pandemic nurse–patient relationship
personal protective equipment
qualitative study


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19
disease VO study design
drug DRUGBANK Pentaerythritol tetranitrate
drug DRUGBANK Coenzyme M
disease VO effective
disease IDO process
disease MESH facial expression
disease MESH infection
disease MESH uncertainty
disease VO volume
disease MESH infectious diseases
disease MESH emergency
drug DRUGBANK Etoperidone
drug DRUGBANK Methyl 4 6-O-[(1r)-1-Carboxyethylidene]-Beta-D-Galactopyranoside
disease VO time
drug DRUGBANK Tropicamide
disease VO Thing
drug DRUGBANK Nonoxynol-9
disease MESH panic attack
disease MESH loneliness
disease VO company
disease MESH sweating
disease VO population
disease MESH death
disease IDO contagiousness
disease MESH cognitive impairment
disease IDO quality
disease VO USA
drug DRUGBANK Diflunisal

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