Background: The illness caused by the novel coronavirus is an emerging disease, and for this reason, the international community is encountered with its unknown nature, such as clinical features, treatments, and long-term complications. Experience suggests that humans are affected by the psychological and social effects of epidemics and pandemics of infectious diseases. Accordingly, it is a new experience to care for patients with this disease that has to be more explored. The present study aimed to detect the challenges with which nurses are faced in the process of caring for patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Iran using a qualitative method.
Methods: This qualitative study utilized in-depth semi-structured interviews with 19 key informants selected via targeted sampling. The obtained data were analyzed by thematic analysis to identify the challenges to which the nurses have encountered in the process of caring for patients with COVID-19 in Iran.
Results: Challenges of the nurses in the caring process for patients with COVID-19 are listed in five categories of stress and psychological issues, equipment-related challenges, increased events of errors, medication and treatment problems, and hospital management. It should be mentioned that at the same time, 35 other subcategories were also identified in this study.
Conclusion: Since nurses are at the forefront in fighting the COVID-19, there must be plans to increase their preparedness. Deficiencies in health systems, including equipment, medicine, and personal protective gear should also be addressed so that nurses can better respond to these incidents. Psychological and mental support is a key component of the nurses’ appropriate response; therefore, along with nurses' responses, individuals, groups, and family psychological supports should be facilitated to increase performance and effectiveness in response to COVID-19.
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