Practices and experiences of European frontline nurses under the shadow of COVID-19

Semyon Melnikov, Ilya Kagan, Helena Felizardo, Marion Lynch, Charlotte Jakab-Hall, Lisa Langan, Peter Vermeir, Marie Louise Luiking-Martin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The COVID-19 pandemic has caused health professionals to deal with new situations they have not encountered before. Nurses were forced to cope with increased workloads, seriously ill patients, numerous patient deaths, and unresolved ethical dilemmas. This study aimed to examine the lived experiences of nurses across Europe during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. This was a qualitative narrative research study. Eighteen nurses from eight European countries (four each from the UK and Israel, three from Portugal, two each from the Netherlands and Ireland, and one each from Belgium, Italy, and Sweden) submitted narratives about their professional experiences during May–June 2020. The narratives were analyzed using thematic analysis. Seven categories across the narratives were condensed and interpreted into three themes: opportunities and growth, care management, and emotional and ethical challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nurses emotionally and provided an opportunity to actively develop systems and skills needed to minimize harm and maximize benefits to patients and nurses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-413
Number of pages9
JournalNursing and Health Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • COVID-19
  • ethics moral distress
  • lived experience
  • narrative research
  • nurses
  • opportunities


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