The psychological well-being of primary healthcare nurses during COVID-19: A qualitative study

General practice plays an important role in a pandemic, and as such there is the potential for the primary care workforce to become overwhelmed. This qualitative study aimed to explore primary healthcare nurses’ psychological well-being related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The results of semi-structured interviews indicated that the importance of professional and public support and acknowledgement of the nurses’ role during the pandemic positively influenced feelings of being valued. Conversely, the psychological impact of negative experiences increased anxiety and stress levels. Participants reported a range of self-care strategies, including increased vigilance with infection control at home and work, and attention to physical exercise and diet. Most participants remained positive about their roles and career decisions, although some indicated that the negative psychological impacts prompted re-evaluation of their career.

This study highlights that primary healthcare nurses have been exposed to a range of personal and professional stressors during the pandemic that have impacted their psychological well-being. Awareness of stressors and an understanding of what has helped and what has impacted well-being are important in guiding future workplace support systems.

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