HumanInsight Impact of Covid-19 on lung cancer and mesothelioma specialist nurses: A survey of experiences and perceptions
Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2022 Oct 2;61:102207. doi: 10.1016/j.ejon.2022.102207. Online ahead of print.
PURPOSE: The covid-19 global pandemic has impacted on nurses who have rapidly adapted to new ways of working, and experienced negative impacts due to over-stretched services. Two surveys captured the experiences of lung cancer and mesothelioma specialist nurses in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2020, but the impact of later stages of the pandemic was unknown. This study aimed to explore the impact of covid-19 on lung Cancer and mesothelioma nurses since January 2021, the second wave of the pandemic.
METHODS: An online cross-sectional survey with both open and closed questions explored the impact of covid-19 on ways of working and workload, quality of care, and health and wellbeing. The survey was open to UK based lung cancer and mesothelioma advanced or specialist nurses.
RESULTS: 85 nurses responded to the survey. The majority were Clinical Nurse Specialists, based in England. Respondents reported changes in ways of working due to redeployment, staff shortages, and home working. Widespread adoption of virtual working practices led to concerns of negative impacts. Perceived excessive workload impacted on care with two-thirds of the sample (57, 67%) reporting they had been unable to provide the same quality of care to patients. Impacts on nurses' health and wellbeing were reported with two-thirds of the sample (56, 66%) reporting a deterioration in emotional wellbeing and mental health. Coping mechanisms employed included online team support to share experiences and increased uptake of exercise; however, impacts on lifestyle and access to coping mechanisms varied.
CONCLUSION: Nurses have stepped up to the challenges of the pandemic with teamwork and innovation, but pressure arising from the pandemic and high workloads led to negative impacts on wellbeing. The authors have provided recommendations to improve patient care and support the wellbeing of nurses, which will be key to a resilient workforce living with covid-19. Whilst this study focussed on lung cancer and mesothelioma specialists, the findings have wider implications for other cancer specialties.
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