Int J Nurs Pract. 2022 May 17:e13065. doi: 10.1111/ijn.13065. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic caused a shortage of health care staff, forcing the hiring of senior nursing students.
AIMS: To describe the psychosocial impact and coping strategies used by nursing students during the first outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and to understand the coping strategies they employed.
METHOD: A qualitative exploratory study was conducted, based on Sandelowski’s proposal. Purposive sampling was carried out to recruit 18 students hired during the pandemic. The students were interviewed between 18 March and 15 June 2020. Semi-structured interviews were conducted using a digital platform. An inductive thematic analysis was performed.
FINDINGS: The students lived alone and isolated during their contract to protect their cohabitants from possible contagion. The impact of working during the pandemic leads to experiences of stress, insomnia, nightmares and anxiety. Nursing students coped with the emotional burden through mental disconnection and the support of co-workers and family members.
CONCLUSION: Psychological support and tutoring should be provided by health centres. In addition, in these special circumstances, universities should adapt the training provided.