'Fighting an Octopus'- Experiences of Nurses Working in the COVID-19 Ward: A Qualitative Study

Özkan Z., Uçan H., Özparlak A., Karakaya D., Okan Demirel M.

Turkiye Klinikleri Journal of Nursing Sciences, vol.14, no.4, pp.1221-1231, 2022 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)


Objective: This study was carried out to comprehensively examine the experiences of nurses working in the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID19) service. Material and Methods: This is a descriptive phenomenology study. The research was conducted with 18 nurses at a hospital in the city of Antalya, Türkiye, between December 2020 and August 2021. Participants in the research were selected by purposive sampling. Data collection was by the face-to-face interview technique. A personal information form and a semi-structured interview form were used to collect data. Data analysis was performed with the content analysis approach recommended by Graneheim and Lundman. The data were analyzed using the NVIVO 12 Pro package program. Results: The themes of the research were determined as individual effects of work in the COVID-19 ward (sub-themes; effects on health, effects on family life, effects on social life), professional effects of work in the COVID-19 ward, methods of coping with COVID19, nurses' need for support during COVID-19, the meaning of COVID-19 for nurses, nurses' recommendations to their colleagues during COVID-19, and gains from COVID-19. Conclusion: Findings showed that nurses providing care during COVID-19 had bad experiences both individually and professionally. They used various methods to cope with these bad experiences and felt the need for support. However, alongside their bad experiences during the pandemic, they experienced positive gains which points to post-traumatic growth. The conclusions of the study may contribute to the formation of support programs which will increase nurses' wellbeing, motivation and knowledge levels in order to reduce the negative effects of the pandemic.