A registered nurse needs to think critically and work with the best available material for the well-being of the patient. The nurse needs to engage in professional and therapeutic relationships and with that have to maintain the quality of care. They need to perform holistic assessments and make a proper care plan for diseased individuals (Nursing and Midwifery board APHRA, 2020). Moreover, patients need more care in a pandemic situation. A pandemic exerts extra burdens on the healthcare facilities and the healthcare professionals. Thus, this creates various self-care issues for registered nurses during this time (Fernandez et al., 2020). Therefore, it is necessary to look at these concerns for better functioning of these healthcare professionals.
Pandemics are global situations in which infectious diseases are spread in most parts of the world and it is affecting a large number of people around the globe which leads to death and economical and social disruptions. Pandemics also majorly affect the healthcare systems and especially the people who are working in the healthcare system. Pandemics which include respiratory infections generally spread via interpersonal contacts and droplets coming out from the diseased individuals (Fernandez et al., 2020). Among the healthcare professionals, nurses are in direct contact with the patients so that they can provide the care and treatment for the disease. Nurses also have the responsibility to do the assessments on the patients. Thus, they are in very close radius to the patients and usually have a high amount of risk of themselves getting the disease. This creates self-care issues for the registered nurses as they can themselves caught the infection and can further transfer to their family members or friends (Fernandez et al., 2020).
The first role of the registered nurse in the case study is to work for the betterment of the patient. The issue that arises from working in a pandemic is that they have professional and moral obligations for working for the betterment of the society and community. For that, they have to risk their own lives to work for the patients in a pandemic situation. This has impacted them personally as they fear that they might also be able to get the disease (Fernandez et al., 2020). Because of this situation, the nurses experience mental distress like anxiety, depression and fear. They also have to face post-traumatic symptoms and decrement in their overall personal well-being. These could have long term and short term impact on their mental status and thus could develop major psychological problems in their lives. This fear could also arise because they did not get any training for working in a pandemic situation (Mukhtar, 2020). This problem affects the working of the nurses and creates a psychological crisis in them and therefore, develop self-care issue.
The second role of the registered nurse in the case study was to keep their families safe from the infectious disease which has been spread in the pandemic. The issue that arises in this situation is that the nurses fear that they will transfer the disease to their family members, friends and their colleagues by working with the diseased individuals. Nurses concern about the transmission of disease which causes them stress and tension for their loved ones (Fernandez et al., 2020). They also self-isolate themselves to prevent and protect the people around them (Mukhtar, 2020). In the studies that have been conducted, nurses have stated that they have psychosocial problems due to separation from their family members and heavy workload. This results in sleep deprivation and burnout in them. This problem is raised because they were not prepared for this challenge and they did not know about the proper managing techniques. They do not have adequate knowledge about the prevention and thus they face difficulties in their self-care and for others as well (Fernandez et al., 2020).
The third role of the registered nurse in the case study was to help the patients and providing them with emotional and physical support. For that, the nurses have to work for their treatment and welfare. In addition to that, they have to build a therapeutic relationship with the patient so that they can provide them with moral and emotional support as the family members could not be present with the patient while they are suffering from the disease. This creates an extreme amount of pressure on the nurses emotionally and physically too (Hu et al., 2020). In the pandemic, they have to work extra because of the increased burden on healthcare and have to look after the emotional needs and requirements of the patient. Thus, the nurse experiences burnout while working with diseased individuals. In the studies which have been performed, it was found out that their increase amount of burnout rates in the nurses who work in the frontline. This burnout among nurses was due to long exposure towards the deteriorating situations which have no end in sight. While the nurses experience burnout they also show symptoms of anxiety and depression (Hu et al., 2020). Thus, burnout in registered nurses causes self-care issues.
Therefore, the key findings of the case study were that the graduate nurse could have issues in their self-care. The first issue that can be faced by the graduate nurses is that they might fear getting the respiratory disease while working closely with the diseased individuals in the pandemic. They also might worry about their moral obligations towards their patients and their profession and their safety. This problem could cause psychological stress and other problems like anxiety and depression. With that, they could have negative effects on their mental health. This self-care problem might arise because they have not been trained for working in a pandemic situation. The other issue that graduate nurses could face is the problem of keeping their family, friends and colleagues safe. They could fear about the transmission of disease from their workplace to the people around them (Fernandez et al., 2020). For that, they could self-isolate themselves and thus do not come in direct contact with anyone else (Mukhtar, 2020). This problem might create psychosocial issues for them as they have to be separated from their family members in pandemic situations. Thus, their mental wellbeing can go down and they could have a problem with sleeping (Fernandez et al., 2020). This issue creates self-care troubles for graduate nurses. The third self-care concern for the graduate nurse is their burnout. A pandemic demands more involvement of the nurses in patient care. The nurses have to engage with diseased individuals because they do not have emotional and social support in the healthcare facility and that they are far away from their family members and their friends. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the nurses to take care of patient’s emotional needs and requirements so that holistic care could be provided to them. Their job also demands extra input in terms of giving extra hours in patient care and thus could cause burnout in them (Hu et al., 2020). Hence, this all can create a burden on the nurses and thus they have issues in self-care.
One of the strategies that new nurses or graduate nurses could use while entering the workforce during the time of pandemic is that they can be extra careful about their exposure to diseased individuals. They can make use of appropriate equipment so that they can prevent getting the respiratory disease from the patients. They can wear masks, impervious gowns, facial masks, gloves and eye protection equipment to stop the transmission. With that, they can also make use of sanitizers and other substances which help them to kill the microorganism involved in the transmission of the disease. The healthcare professional could also check the transmission by taking care of their hygiene and by working under standards and guidelines (Chen, Lai & Tsay, 2020). The other strategy that could be used by a new nurse while coming to work in a pandemic is to take social and psychological support. This would also help in the reduction of the psychological stress that would be faced by her. Taking help from counselling will also facilitate in relieving the sign and symptom of insomnia and anxiety. They could seek help from psychotherapists after their shift so that their depression and stress could be treated (Huang et al., 2020). The third strategy that could be used is to limit the amount of unnecessary contact with individuals and the materials. For example, new nurses could make use of paperless materials in the hospital settings so that transmission does not spread among the workers. In addition to that, they can also provide remote assistance to the patients to eliminate unwanted contact (de Pablo et al., 2020; Halcomb et al 2020).
In conclusion, it can be said that pandemic can create multiple problems for the nurses who are working in the frontline to cure diseased individuals. They generally have to face self-care problems such as they fear that they might get the respiratory infection themselves or they could transmit the infection to their family members and the loved ones. They also experience trouble because of their burnout which happens due to their role and responsibility in healthcare. The graduate nurse could also feel stress, depression and anxiety due to these self-care issues. However, they can manage them by focusing on their exposure, maintaining their mental well-being and limiting unnecessary contact.
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Nursing and Midwifery board APHRA. (2020). Registered nurse standards for practice. Available at https://www.nursingmidwiferyboard.gov.au/codes-guidelines-statements/professional-standards/registered-nurse-standards-for-practice.aspx
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