Perceptions and Experiences of the COVID-19 Pandemic amongst Frontline Nurses and Their Relatives in France in Six Paradoxes : A Qualitative Study Article - Juillet 2021

Stephanie Chandler-Jeanville, Rita Georges Nohra, Valerie Loizeau, Corinne Lartigue-Malgouyres, Roger Zintchem, David Naudin, Monique Rothan-Tondeur

Stephanie Chandler-Jeanville, Rita Georges Nohra, Valerie Loizeau, Corinne Lartigue-Malgouyres, Roger Zintchem, David Naudin, Monique Rothan-Tondeur, « Perceptions and Experiences of the COVID-19 Pandemic amongst Frontline Nurses and Their Relatives in France in Six Paradoxes : A Qualitative Study  », International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, juillet 2021, p. 6977. ISSN 1661-7827

Abstract

Due to their frontline position to fight the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the professional and personal life of nurses was severely disrupted. To understand and describe their lived experiences and perceptions during the pandemic’s first wave in France, we interviewed 49 nurses, including 16 nursing students, and 48 of their family members from June to July 2020. Using a purposeful sampling, the semi-structured interviews were scripted according to Abric’s method with probing questions. The interview analysis led to the identification of six paradoxical perceptions concerning the pandemic’s consequences : the Silence Paradox, the Hero Paradox, the Workforce Paradox, the Learning Paradox, the Symbolic Exchange Paradox, and the Uncertainty Paradox. However, despite different experiences, the nurses perceived their frontline position both as a burden jeopardizing their safety and well-being and as a spotlight of nurses’ tough working conditions. Indeed, because they were in the frontline position, nurses and nursing students were psychologically vulnerable, even more so when they felt alone and inadequately protected. Besides, their families were vulnerable too, as they were also exposed to the consequences of the nurses’ frontline engagement. Thus, to preserve their safety and well-being, institutions should also provide them with better organizational support and inclusive leadership, without neglecting their families.

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