Emotions, care difficulties and ethical problems experienced by nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic: A qualitative study

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COVID-19, clinician nurse, ethical problem, professional ethics


Protecting the health and safety of nurses and other health professionals taking an active role during the COVID-19 pandemic is important. Risks not understood by health professionals and inadequate working conditions cause concern and lead to ethical problems. This qualitative research study was conducted to gain an understanding of the difficulties and emotions nurses experience, and their awareness of the ethical problems experienced while providing nursing care in the COVID-19 clinic. Data was collected by two different methods; deep conversation and semi-structured interview and evaluated by content analysis. Using an empirical phenomenological approach, data analysis concluded with two main themes and eight sub-themes. The average age of the nurses is 32.8±6.7, 91.1%  are female, 73.3%  have a bachelor's degree. Average weekly work hours before COVID-19 pandemic was 43.3± 4.6, after the pandemic 37.8± 5.5, 86.7% expressed that the care patients with COVID-19 received was adequate. The emotions experienced by the participants are positive, negative and ambivalent. During the COVID-19 outbreak, nurses were dominated by negative emotions intensified with the ethical issues surrounding the safety of patients, colleagues, families and themselves. Nurses primarily experience ethical problems related to their, patients’, colleagues’ and families’ safety. Positive emotions expressed by nurses; hopefulness, heroism, joy and success because of the patients' recovery, respect and emotions of gratitude. Some of the difficulties experienced by the participants are difficulties in care due to protective gear worn, difficulty reaching the physician and communication problems. Different studies can be planned regarding the factors affecting healthcare professional-patient communication during the COVID-19 care and treatment process.


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How to Cite

Işık, M. T., Can Özdemir, R., & Karadeniz, E. (2022). Emotions, care difficulties and ethical problems experienced by nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic: A qualitative study. HEALTH SCIENCES QUARTERLY, 2(1), 27–37. https://doi.org/10.26900/hsq.2.1.04



Original Article