The Experiences of Intensive Care Nurses in Caring for COVID-19 Patients: A review of the literature

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Khalidah Mobarki


Objective: Intensive care nurses have a critical role in fighting COVID-19. They have been on the front lines to provide high-quality and safe patient care in these facilities. However, the covid-19 pandemic has made their work more challenging. As a result, healthcare workers' physical and mental well-being has affected their ability to offer quality care. Based on these arguments, there is a shortage of empirical research, especially in intensive care nurses’ experiences caring for COVID-19 patients. However, further investigation is needed better to understand these concerns from the nurses’ perspective.

Objective: To comprehensively review, describe, and explore the experiences and perceptions of nurses working in an ICU during the COVID-19 global pandemic and their assessments of how these experiences have impacted their personal and professional lives. Material and Methods: The following seven electronic databases were searched systematically to gain relevant studies:  CINAHL, EMBASE, PsycINFO, MEDLINE, PubMed, the Cochrane Library and Web of Science. The literature review was the methodology guide for this study. This review used the PICOS (population, intervention, outcomes, and study design) model to formulate research questions and a PRISMA flow diagram to screen and select relevant studies. Eligible studies are written in the English language and are peer-reviewed. The methodological quality was assessed using the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) critical appraisal checklist for qualitative studies, while the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT) was used to evaluate mixed methods designs. The narrative synthesis techniques were used to present the findings.

Results: A total of 693 records have been screened, and only eight studies were finally included: six studies used qualitative approaches while two used mixed methods design approach. The eight studies were undertaken in SEVEN different geographic areas (Hong Kong, Iraqi Kurdistan, Singapore, Qatar, Australia, USA, Sweden). The eight studies recruited 420 registered nurses, of whom 67% were male (281) and 33% were female (139) aged between 20 to 60 years, and the mean of their experience was eight years. The review had four different themes from the analysis. The finding of the eight included studies related to the RN's experiences, which include psychological distress (depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder); stressful work environment.; experiences with personal protective equipment (PPE); moral resilience, sense of pride, and commitment.

Conclusion: ICU nurses may be considered a particularly vulnerable group of people. They reported increasing workloads in stressful and precarious situations and a challenge in their ability to make decisions independently. There is a need to explore additional aspects of their encounters further when caring for patients during the pandemic by going deeper into areas of their lives relevant to their experiences to understand the aspects that may not be addressed through quantitative methods.


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How to Cite
Mobarki, K. (2022). The Experiences of Intensive Care Nurses in Caring for COVID-19 Patients: A review of the literature. Medical Science and Discovery, 9(11), 607–613.
Review Article
Received 2022-10-31
Accepted 2022-11-14
Published 2022-11-15


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