Professional grief among nurses in Spanish public health centers after caring for COVID-19 patients
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DepartmentDidáctica de la Educación Física, Plástica y Musical
SourceJournal of Nursing Scholarship
Aims and objectives The aim of the present study is to investigate the professional grief suffered by nurses in various medical units, after coping with the COVID-19 pandemic for the last 18 months. Background Addressing and acknowledging the reality of professional grief is of fundamental importance to nurses' mental health, as this condition has both professional and personal consequences. Design A qualitative, content analysis approach was taken. Methods Based on 25 interviews with nursing professionals working in different health centers units were performed. The following sampling schemes were used: first, convenience sampling, then nominated sampling, and finally theoretical sampling. Results From our analysis of the data obtained, three main themes were identified: the impact on nurses of COVID-19 outcomes; the symptoms of professional grief; and cognitive reactions. These core elements interacted with 12 subtopics, including symptoms of grief and the cognitive impact produced. Conclusions A large proportion of the nurses consulted in this study have suffered and suffered professional grief and report many related symptoms. In response to the present pandemic and any future occurrence, the question of professional grief needs to be addressed. Relevance to clinical practice To help them cope better with this type of situation, nurses should receive appropriate training. Moreover, healthcare institutions should be made aware of the problem and be encouraged to offer assistance to address the impact produced on nurses by the deaths of their patients. Clinical relevance This study shows the impact of professional grief on nurses in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nurses are affected personally by the deaths of patients and by alterations to their working conditions. In many cases, this grief remains unresolved and its various symptoms persist.