Italian nurses' COVID-19 experiences from mass media interviews: a qualitative study


COVID-19, front-line nurses’ experiences; mass media; qualitative study.


Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic is heavily hitting healthcare systems around the world, and nurses are battling in the front line. Previous studies have reported nurses’ responses to catastrophic situations, but also interviews released by Italian nurses to the main mass media channels could bear important messages for policy makers and stakeholders.This study describes Italian front-line nurses’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic through television interviews.

Methods: This is a descriptive qualitative study. Data were collected through purposive sampling from Italian front-line nurses’ interviews during the COVID-19 pandemic. Publicly available interviews between 7th and 29th March 2020 were collected from the websites of national and regional television stations. Thematic content analysis was used to describe, summarize, and classify data into macro themes. The study is compliant with Standards for Reporting Qualitative Research.

 Results: A total of 21 television interviews were collected from front-line clinical nurses, nursing managers, nursing trade union representatives and representatives of the Nursing Regulator. Thematic analysis yielded four macro-themes: psycho-social effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on health professionals; altered patient relationships; personal safety; recognition and promotion of the profession.

Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated some problems already present, such as the shortage of nurses, but has also turned the spotlight on the nursing profession. Highly involved and affected by the pandemic, nurses have become better known by the public and often also protagonists of public discussions. It is important that nurses’ value as allies of the public emerges stronger from this dramatic situation.


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