Journal of Nursing Scholarship
Purpose: COVID-19 has presented health care professionals with unprecedented challenges. Significant risks have emerged as nurses have continued to work in delivering frontline health care during the pandemic. Feeling “at risk” has significant deleterious effects on nurses. The study sought to explore the perceptions of risk by Australian primary health care nurses (PHC) during COVID-19. Methods: Twenty-five Australian PHC nurses were purposively recruited from survey respondents who indicated a willingness to be interviewed. Phone interviews were undertaken between June and August 2020. Audio-recordings were transcribed and analyzed thematically. Findings: Participants shared concerns about risks in the workplace that emerged during COVID-19 and described the strategies used to mitigate these identified risks. Three themes were identified: (a) Professional concerns, (b) Personal/family concerns, and (c) Patient needs. Conclusions: Understanding PHC nurses’ perceptions of risk during COVID-19 provides an important insight into how they can be better supported to manage the risks that they face and feel safer in their workplace. Ensuring that PHC nurses are well-supported is important to optimize job satisfaction, reduce burnout and improve patient care. Clinical Relevance: There is a need to ensure that nurses feel safe during crises such as pandemics to protect both individual nurses and the broader workforce. Protecting the health workforce is essential to optimizing service delivery and promoting health outcomes.
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