Research nurses publish study on living through COVID-19

Rural RNs share impact of pandemic on work and home life in close-knit communities

Two Sanford Health nurses gear up in full PPE in a tent set up as a temporary COVID testing site.

Six Sanford Health employees, including nurses and researchers, and an associate professor from Augustana University, recently published a study titled, “The lived experience of frontline nurses: COVID-19 in rural America,” which highlights the experiences of several nurses working in three of Sanford’s tertiary medical centers in the Upper Midwest during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study was published in the July/August issue of Nursing Forum, a journal for professional nurses.

“We interviewed 19 nurses – 14 female and 5 male nurses with an average age of 28.6 and 4.7 years of nursing experience,” said Karen Robinson, PhD, RN, FAAN, a nursing research consultant with Sanford Health. “The study helped us understand exactly what nurses working in COVID units and intensive care units in rural America experienced as they were caring for critically ill COVID-19 patients.”

The study identified common themes from the nurses who were interviewed, which included the feeling of being overwhelmed and the perseverance and resiliency nurses and their co-workers experienced during the pandemic.

Nurses also shared their experiences caring for patients who were extremely ill and sicker than any other patient they had cared for in their nursing career.

This study, and the stories shared from these rural nurses, will help to inform how to best support bedside nurses, nurse management and staff development educators in the future.

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Posted In Coronavirus, Nursing and Nursing Support, Research, Rural Health