The experiences of health care workers employed in an Australian intensive care unit during the H1N1 Influenza pandemic of 2009: A phenomenological study

Corley, Amanda, Hammond, Naomi E. and Fraser, John F. (2010) The experiences of health care workers employed in an Australian intensive care unit during the H1N1 Influenza pandemic of 2009: A phenomenological study. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 47 5: 577-585. doi:10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2009.11.015


Author Corley, Amanda
Hammond, Naomi E.
Fraser, John F.
Title The experiences of health care workers employed in an Australian intensive care unit during the H1N1 Influenza pandemic of 2009: A phenomenological study
Journal name International Journal of Nursing Studies   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0020-7489
1873-491X
Publication date 2010-05-01
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2009.11.015
Volume 47
Issue 5
Start page 577
End page 585
Total pages 9
Editor Ian Norman
Place of publication Bromley, U.K.
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background: The H1N1 Influenza A pandemic arrived in Australia in early May 2009. In Queensland, the highest number of H1N1 cases were admitted to the intensive care unit when compared with the other Australian states. While many recent studies examining the H1N1 pandemic have focussed on service delivery and disease epidemiology, few have explored the lived experiences of frontline health care workers caring for the patients in the intensive care unit.

Objectives: The purposes of this study were to: document and describe the lived experiences of the nursing and medical staff caring for patients in the intensive care unit during the H1N1 pandemic; to validate the staffs’ experiences; and to assist in informing future pandemic planning by highlighting the collective experiences of these frontline health care workers.

Design: A phenomenological study method was used.

Setting and participants: 34 staff from a tertiary referral hospital in Brisbane, Australia participated in the study.

Methods: Data was collected using an open ended questionnaire and focus groups. The resulting responses were analysed using Colaizzi's framework to discover regular patterns of meaning that emerged.

Results: Eight common themes emerged: the wearing of personal protective equipment; infection control procedures; the fear of contracting and transmitting the disease; adequate staffing levels within the intensive care unit; new roles for staff; morale levels; education regarding extracorporeal membrane oxygenation; and the challenges of patient care. These eight themes articulate the lived experience of the staff during the height of the H1N1 Influenza pandemic period.

Conclusions: Planning for a pandemic situation is invariably difficult due to the unpredictable nature of the event itself. Recommendations for future pandemic planning which can be drawn from this study include the appointment of a dedicated infection control representative to provide information and support regarding infection control matters; the maintenance of effective communication channels is crucial; and the increased staffing requirements across nursing, medical, allied health and ancillary staff to cope with the higher patient numbers and acuity must be anticipated and planned for.
© 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keyword H1N1 Influenza pandemic
Intensive care unit
Pandemic planning
Phenomonology
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ
Additional Notes Available online 28 December 2009.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Non HERDC
School of Medicine Publications
 
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Created: Wed, 16 Mar 2011, 19:48:08 EST by Debbie Banks on behalf of !NON-HERDC