Psychological distress experienced by nurses amid the fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Hong Kong: A qualitative study

Ankie Tan Cheung, Laurie Long Kwan Ho, William Ho Cheung Li, Joyce Oi Kwan Chung, Graeme D. Smith

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction: The fifth wave of COVID-19 has significantly overburdened the health care system in Hong Kong. Health care professionals, particularly nurses continue to experience significant levels of psychological distress when tackling this ongoing outbreak. Yet, no study has explored the psychological experiences of nurses during the most recent outbreak of the highly transmissible Omicron variant in Hong Kong. The aim of this qualitative study was to explore the psychological distress experienced by nurses during the fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Hong Kong. Methods: Twenty-two nurses (14 female and 8 male nurses; average age, 36.7 ± 8.5 years) were recruited to attend the one-to-one semi-structured telephone interviews from June to July, 2022. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: Four main themes emerged from the interview: (1) Intense fear, worry, and anxiety; (2) Feeling worn out and psychologically distress; (3) Impact on psychosocial and physical health; and (4) Limited options to cope with psychological distress during the difficult times. Discussion: Our study findings may provide concerned stakeholders with useful insights into reducing the psychological distress experienced by nurses in Hong Kong. Offering psychological support is of paramount importance to address the unmet psychological needs of nurses and reduce their psychological distress during the pandemic, particularly when they are working under high levels of workplace stress.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1023302
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Volume10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2023

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • mental health
  • nurses
  • pandemic
  • psychological distress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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