SOURCE: George, Erin K., Weiseth, Amber, & Edmonds, Joyce K. (2021). Roles and Experiences of Registered Nurses on Labor and Delivery Units in the United States During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing, Volume 50, Issue 6, 742 – 752. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jogn.2021.08.096
OBJECTIVE: To examine the roles and experiences of labor and delivery (LD) nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey.
SETTING: Online distribution between the beginning of July and end of August 2020.
PARTICIPANTS: LD nurses (N = 757) responded to an open-ended question about changes to their roles during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of a larger national survey.
METHODS: We calculated descriptive statistics on respondents’ characteristics and their hospitals’ characteristics. We applied conventional content analysis to free-text comments.
RESULTS: We derived four major categories from the responses: Changes in Roles and Responsibilities, Adaptations to Changes, Psychological Changes, and Perceived Effects on Labor Support. Nearly half (n = 328) of respondents reported changes in their roles and responsibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. They described adaptations and responses to these changes and perceived effects on patient care. Infection control policies and practices as well as the stress of a rapidly changing work environment affected the provision of labor support and personal well-being.
CONCLUSION: The experiences described by respondents conveyed considerable changes in their roles and subsequent direct and indirect effects on quality of patient care and personal well-being. Policies and practices that can facilitate the ability of LD nurses to safely and securely remain at the bedside and provide high-touch, hands-on labor support are needed. The findings of our study can help facilitate the provision of labor support during times of disruption and foster the resiliency of the nursing workforce.