SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome): reflective practice of a nurse manager

J Clin Nurs. 2005 Jan;14(1):28-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2004.00995.x.


Aims and objectives: This paper describes the reflective practice of a nurse manager in Hong Kong in supporting frontline nurses to overcome the crisis of SARS.

Background: SARS infection was a crisis for everyone in endemic areas because of its threat to physical and emotional health. Hong Kong was the second leading endemic area in the world. Inadequate supplies of protective devices and the death of a nurse infected with SARS triggered nurses' negative emotions.

Methods: A model of structured reflection was adopted to examine one's practice. A problem-solving model for crisis intervention was integrated into the reflective stage of structured reflection.

Results: Promotion of nurses' safety and emotional stability were the major goals in handling the crisis. Strategies were employed including self-awareness, empowerment and team building, information sharing, provision of personal protective equipment and emotional support for frontline nurses.

Conclusions: SARS infection threatens the physical and emotional health of nurses. From a positive perspective, such a crisis created an opportunity to learn and grow in terms of ethical, personal and aesthetic arenas.

Relevance to clinical practice: SARS epidemic raised worldwide attention and challenged the Hong Kong's health care system. Reflective practice is useful to guide and examine nurses' professional action during the crisis, and to put the experience into a learning perspective.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / epidemiology
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / prevention & control*
  • Communication
  • Crisis Intervention / organization & administration
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control*
  • Disease Outbreaks / statistics & numerical data
  • Endemic Diseases / prevention & control
  • Endemic Diseases / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Promotion
  • Hong Kong / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infection Control
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Models, Nursing
  • Nurse Administrators* / organization & administration
  • Nurse Administrators* / psychology
  • Nurse's Role*
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / organization & administration
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology
  • Occupational Health
  • Power, Psychological
  • Problem Solving
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / prevention & control*
  • Social Support