Experiences of Nurse Managers during the COVID-19 Outbreak in a Selected District Hospital in Limpopo Province, South Africa

Healthcare (Basel). 2021 Dec 31;10(1):76. doi: 10.3390/healthcare10010076.


The South African health care system was hard hit by the second wave of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which affected nurse managers as healthcare facilities became overwhelmed due to an increased workload emanating from the overflow of admissions. Therefore, this study sought to explore and describe the nurse managers' experiences during COVID-19 in order to identify gaps and lessons learnt. A descriptive phenomenological research approach was used to explore the experiences of ten nurse managers who were purposively selected from different units of a selected district hospital. Data was collected through telephonic unstructured individual interviews and analysed using Colaizzi's seven steps method. The study revealed that nurse managers experienced human resource related challenges during COVID-19, worsened by the fact that vacant posts were frozen. It also emerged that there was a shortage of material resources that affected patient care. Nurse managers also indicated that COVID-19 brought a lot of administrative duties plus an additional duty of patient care. Also, nurse managers who had previously contracted COVID-19 experienced stigma and discrimination. The government needs to address resource related challenges in rural public hospitals and provide continuous support to nurse managers, particularly during a pandemic like COVID-19.

Keywords: COVID-19; challenges; experiences; nurse managers.