Nurs Crit Care - (-) - [2023-05-30; online 2023-05-30]
In 2019, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) broke out worldwide, leading to a pandemic. Studies have shown that COVID-19 patients in intensive care units (ICUs) require more nursing care than other patients. ICU nurses who care for patients with COVID-19 have shown signs of psychological and physical strain. The aim of this study was to illuminate ICU nurses' experiences of caring for patients with COVID-19 in ICUs during the first wave of the pandemic. A qualitative, descriptive and inductive approach was used. A total of 70 blog posts from 13 bloggers in the United States, Great Britain, Finland and Sweden were analysed using qualitative inductive manifest content analysis. The results reveal an overall theme: 'An overturned existence under extreme conditions'. Furthermore, three categories-'the virus caused changes in work and private lives', 'unreasonable demands', and to hold on to caring ideals thanks to the support of others'-and seven subcategories were identified. Caring for patients with COVID-19 during the first wave of the pandemic was demanding because of a lack of knowledge about the disease and the severity of the illness. This led to ICU nurses experiencing extreme conditions that affected various aspects of their lives. Support from colleagues and teamwork were revealed to be particularly important for how nurses dealt with the demands of working during a pandemic, as was sufficient recovery time between work shifts. Work in ICUs was challenging and demanding, even before the pandemic. This study contributes to an understanding of the complex work environment that existed in hospitals during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The knowledge obtained from this study can be used to revise working conditions and identify health interventions for ICU nurses.