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Nursing through the COVID-19 pandemic

Thursday 15 April 2021

RGU Building
RGU has funded a research study to explore the experiences of nurses working in hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more than a year, the pandemic has placed significant additional pressures on the National Health Service (NHS). Nurses make up more than 40 per cent of the NHS workforce and are likely to require considered support to help avoid burnout or redeployment, and to encourage these experienced key workers to continue their important role in protecting our nation’s health.

Leading the study is Senior Research Fellow and Medical Sociologist Dr Aileen Grant from the university’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedic Practice (SNMPP).

Dr Grant says: “Our NHS has battled the pandemic for a prolonged period and under extraordinary circumstances. While its staff continue their heroic efforts to ensure patient care, the pandemic has heightened shortages where nurses not only have to respond expediently to changes in service delivery but also to accommodate for absences caused by the disease, having to self-isolate, shield, or from stress.

“Nurses working in hospitals have very much been in the frontline of the traumas caused by the pandemic and little is known about the effectiveness of measures taken to help them cope. This research is imperative to ensure that any support provided—be it educational, practical or psychological—is fit for purpose, as retaining experienced registered nurses, new graduates, and students is vital to addressing any potential catastrophic nursing shortages.”

The study will explore the experiences of nurses working in the acute sector of NHS Grampian—who will be given an honorarium for their participation—to discover the impact the pandemic has had on their wellbeing, support systems, or role as mentors to students and new graduates.

The findings will inform the support and development of SNMPP’s and NHS Grampian’s workforce (including that of new graduates) as well as planning for placements and student mentors.

“If you are a nurse working in the acute sector of NHS Grampian, I would love to hear from you,” adds Dr Grant. “Participation involves completing a short questionnaire and—if you are interested in telling us more—participating in a qualitative online interview. Please email me at for further information.”

The cross-disciplinary research team also includes RGU’s Professor Catriona Kennedy, Dr Nicola Torrance, Dr Flora Douglas, Professor Angela Kydd, Dr Neil Johnson, and Dr Rosaleen O’Brien.

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