OBJECTIVES: We explored dispatched nurses' experiences of wearing full gear personal protective equipment to care for patients with coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China .
BACKGROUND: Full gear personal protective equipment is the primary and foremost measure to prevent the contact and transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2); however, working in full gear personal protective equipment may hinder nursing care activities and thus negatively affect patients' and nurses' health .
DESIGN: This descriptive qualitative inquiry followed the COREQ guidelines .
METHODS: Individual semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted in a purposive sample of 15 frontline nurses who were dispatched to the outbreak epicentre from March to April 2020 . Verbatim transcripts were content analysed .
RESULTS: Four themes emerged from the data: inadequate preparedness for working with full gear personal protective equipment, full gear personal protective equipment stimulated stress responses, coping strategies and professional growth . Participants learned a great deal from problem-focussed and emotion-focussed strategies to tackle challenges related to the prolonged wearing of full gear personal protective equipment for quality nursing care and reduced risk of exposure . They became more vigilant to the adherence to evolving protocols and appropriate training concerning full gear personal protective equipment use .
CONCLUSIONS: Frontline nurses confronted various but diminishing challenges related to the use of full gear personal protective equipment when caring for patients with COVID-19 across the approximate 40-day period . Consistent use of coverall personal protective equipment to protect from SARS-CoV-2 in high exposure settings would be feasible if nurses were better prepared; therefore, scenario-based skill training concerning the prolonged use of full gear personal protective equipment should be offered regularly and intensively . RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: This study informs future decisions concerning improved full gear personal protective equipment-related psychomotor training and promoting ways for nurses to cope with the stress that comes from working in highly contiguous environments.
Index: clinical nursing research, coronavirus, experiential learning, infection control, nurses, occupational health, patient safety, personal protective equipment, qualitative study, severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus