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Title: Exploring the psychosocial effects of the Coronavirus 2019 (covid-19) pandemic on foreign national critical care nurses employed in Saudi Arabia
Authors: Chetty, Krishnavellie 
Keywords: Covid-19;Critical Care Unit;Psychosocial;Well-being;Saudi Arabia;Critical care nurses;Pandemic
Issue Date: 29-Sep-2022
Globally, the Covid-19 pandemic has confronted Critical Care nurses with an even
greater, unprecedented challenge and to a great extent, exposed them to many risk
factors. This has a profound psychosocial and psychological impact on their mental
health and their well-being (El-Hage et al. 2020: 73). The same study notes that,
foreign national Critical Care nurses have to deal with numerous end-of-life
decisions, shortage of beds and inadequate supplies such as, shortage of Personal
Protective Equipment (PPEs) and the fear of getting infected or infecting others. In
Saudi Arabia, the healthcare nursing workforce is comprised of both Saudi nationals
and foreign nationals who are employed as contract workers. The greater proportion
of the Critical Care Unit in Saudi Arabia comprises foreign nationals (Almalki et al.
2011a: 304). Although the initial Covid-19 outbreak was under control, there was still
risk of viral transmission through the population and the disease continued to end in
fatalities (Alshammari et al. 2020: 898). The purpose of this study was to use in-depth
interviews to understand the psychological needs of foreign national Critical Care
nurses working in extraordinary epidemic situations, and to analyse the main content
of their psychological and psychosocial needs through the lens of the ERG theory
and to provide a perspective for interventions to alleviate the psychosocial and the
psychological stress of foreign national Critical Care nurses at the front-line.
Aim of the study
The aim of the study was to explore the psychosocial effects of the Covid-19
pandemic on Saudi Arabian foreign national Critical Care nurses.
In the proposed study, a qualitative, exploratory design was followed to explore the
psychosocial effects on foreign national Critical Care nurses who nursed Covid-19 patients in the Critical Care Unit. A qualitative explorative phenomenological design
was particularly relevant to this study as this approach allowed for engagement and
interaction with the foreign national Critical Care nurses through interviews whilst
striving for subjectivity. The phenomenological method focuses on the experiences
and feelings of participants to find shared patterns rather than individual
characteristics of the research subjects.
The findings of the study were aligned to Alderfer’s ERG theory and provided
evidence that foreign national Critical Care nurses experienced psychosocial factors
whilst caring for Covid-19 critically ill patients. Critical Care nurses experienced great
stress when they were fighting against Covid-19 with their own needs for health,
safety, interpersonal relationships and related knowledge. The findings from the
study yielded the following three core needs: namely a need for survival; a need for
relationships; and a need for growth and development. Therefore, under the direction
of the leaders’ and executive management, the provision of prompt and relevant
training for the prevention and control of Covid-19 would help reduce psychological
panic and insecurity caused by inadequate knowledge.
Dissertation submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the Master of Nursing Sciences at the Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2022.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Health Sciences)

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