Dying and caring on the edge: Taiwan's surviving nurses' reflections on taking care of patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome

Appl Nurs Res. 2007 Nov;20(4):171-80. doi: 10.1016/j.apnr.2006.08.007.


In 2003, Taiwan's nurses were terrified by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and four of them sacrificed their life in the course of their work with SARS patients. This study attempted to identify the stage-specific difficulties encountered by Taiwan's surviving frontline nurses during the anti-SARS process. A two-step within-method qualitative triangulation research design was used to obtain the in-depth and confidential thoughts of 200 participants during the precaring, tangible caring, and postcaring stages. Six major types of stage-specific difficulties with and threats to the quality of care of SARS patients were identified according to each specific stage of the caring process. Four themes were further explored; these are discussed to provide a background context in obtaining better understanding of the multifaceted needs of nurses during this crisis. Consequently, a conceptual framework was developed to depict this complex phenomenon.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infection Control
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurses / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / nursing*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / transmission
  • Taiwan