Critical care nurses’ knowledge, preparedness and experiences of managing COVID-19 in Australia
Dr Shizar Nahidi1,2, Dr Cristina Sotomayor-Castillo1,2, Dr Cecilia Li1,2, Professor Judy Currey3,4, Dr Rosalind Elliot5,6, Professor Ramon Z. Shaban1,2,7,8
1Faculty of Medicine and Health, Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Sydney, Camperdown, Australia
2Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity, University of Sydney, Camperdown, Australia
3Centre for Quality and Patient Safety Research in Institute of Health Transformation, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia
4Deakin Learning Futures, Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Education), Deakin University, Geelong, VIC
5Nursing and Midwifery Research Centre, Nursing and Midwifery Directorate, and Intensive Care Unit, Royal North Shore Hospital, Northern Sydney Local Health District, Australia
6Faculty of Health, University of Technology, Ultimo, Australia
7Division of Infectious Diseases and Sexual Health, Westmead Hospital and Western Sydney Local Health District, Westmead, Australia
8New South Wales Biocontainment Centre, Western Sydney Local Health District and New South Wales Health, Australia
Introduction: COVID-19 pandemic has again highlighted the crucial role of the frontline healthcare workers, including practitioners in critical care settings, in case management, disease surveillance, policy development, and clinical education and training. This study aims to explore Australian critical care nurses’ knowledge, preparedness and experiences of managing SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19.
Methods: A cross-sectional study of Australian critical care nurses was conducted between June and September 2020. An anonymous online survey was sent out to the members of the Australian College of Critical Care Nurses (ACCCN) to collect data about their knowledge, preparedness and experiences during COVID-19 outbreak. Data were summarised and reported using descriptive statistics. Textual data were analysed using conventional content analysis technique.
Results: A total of 138 critical care nurses participated in this study. Most respondents reported ‘good’ to ‘very good’ level of knowledge about COVID-19, and used a variety of sources to obtain up-to-date information about COVID-19. A majority (82.3%) believed they were ‘moderately’ or ‘extremely’ prepared for managing COVID-19 by the time they answered the survey, and 93.4% had received specific education, training or instruction about COVID-19. Most participants were involved in assessing (89.3%) and treating (92.4%) COVID-19 cases. Varying levels of concerns about contracting SARS-CoV-2 were expressed by respondents. The most significant challenges during the COVID-19 outbreak were lack of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and fear of their shortage.
Conclusion: These findings can be used in planning for successful outbreak management during the current COVID-19 pandemic and in future outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases.
Dr Shizar Nahidi has a PhD in public health and community medicine. He also is a medical doctor with several years of overseas practice in primary health care sector. He works as the Research Administration Officer in Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Sydney.