“I Just Know if I Keep Going, I’ll End Up Hating Nursing.” Lived Experiences of Emergency Nurses Three Years Into the Global COVID-19 Pandemic.

Publication date: Feb 18, 2024

As the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic continues globally, the personal and professional pressure on health care workers continues to accumulate. Literature suggests that as the pandemic evolves, nurses are experiencing increased levels of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress, ultimately leading them to voice intentions to leave the profession, if they have not done so already. Informed by an interpretive hermeneutic phenomenological approach, this longitudinal study was designed to capture how the lived experiences of 9 emergency nurses evolved over the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, highlighting their feelings, attitudes, and perceptions toward working in the emergency department at this time in history. Interviews were undertaken in June 2022 and were analyzed using a thematic analysis approach. Data analysis resulted in a total of 2 major themes and 8 minor themes. The 2 major themes included “exposed wounds” and “Band-Aid solutions. ” Levels of burnout increased during the pandemic, with most of the emergency nurse participants dropping their hours, moving roles within the profession, or leaving the profession entirely. Findings elucidate where and how concerns may arise in clinical practice and holistic well-being among emergency nurses, particularly surrounding professional boundaries and protecting work-life balance and professional identity. As the world moves to managing coronavirus disease 2019 as a recognized common respiratory illness, providing time and space for emergency nurses to voice their concerns, design their well-being interventions, set professional boundaries, and reconnect with their professional passion may see lower attrition rates and higher levels of professional satisfaction in emergency nurses globally.

Concepts Keywords
Coronavirus Australia
Covid Coronavirus disease 2019
June Emergency department
Nurses Lived experience
Pandemic Nursing


Type Source Name
disease MESH Emergency
disease MESH COVID-19 Pandemic
disease VO time
disease IDO history
drug DRUGBANK Albendazole
disease MESH burnout
drug DRUGBANK Isoxaflutole
disease VO vaccine

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