L’objectif de cette étude était d’explorer les défis rencontrés par les infirmières des unités de soins intensifs tout au long de la prise en charge des patients atteints du COVID-19.
Aim To describe the experiences of Italian nurses who have been urgently and compulsorily allocated to a newly established COVID-19 sub-intensive care unit. Background In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, no studies have documented the experience of nurses urgently reallocated to a newly created unit. Method A qualitative descriptive study. Twenty-four nurses working in a sub-intensive care unit created for COVID-19 patients participated in four focus groups. Audio-recorded interviews were verbatim-transcribed; then, a thematic analysis was performed. Results The experience of nurses was summarized along three lines: (a) ‘becoming a frontline nurse’, (b) ‘living a double-faced professional experience’ and (c) ‘advancing in nursing practice’. Conclusions Nurses who experienced being mandatorily recruited and urgently reallocated to a COVID-19 unit lived through a mix of negative feelings in the early stages, a double-faced situation during the episode and, at the end, the perception of global growth as a person, as a team and as a professional. Implication for nursing management Nurse managers could play a key role in identifying and preparing nurses in advance to mitigate their concerns and their sense of unpreparedness. The value attributed to nursing care should be promoted both during and after the current COVID-19 pandemic.