AIM: To explore how nurses experienced working in a newly organized COVID-19 ward with high-risk patients during a new and unknown pandemic.

DESIGN: A qualitative explorative study using a phenomenological-hermeneutic approach.

METHODS: Semi-structured individual telephone interviews were conducted in June-July 2020 with 23 nurses working in COVID-19 wards from three regional hospitals in Denmark. The nurses had been transferred from other departments at their hospital to the newly organized COVID-19 wards. Data analysis was influenced by Paul Ricoeur's theory of narrative and interpretation, including three analytical levels: naïve reading, structural analysis and critical interpretation and discussion.

RESULTS: During the structural analysis four themes were generated: (a) Challenging and uncertain situation, but also a positive experience (b) Professional and personal development (c) Lack of nurses' rights during a pandemic (d) Reward in itself or a desire for financial reward.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNursing Open
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)3006-3015
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021 The Authors. Nursing Open published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • Coronavirus outbreak
  • Ricoeur
  • interviews
  • pandemic
  • phenomenological-hermeneutic
  • qualitative approach
  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Nurses
  • Qualitative Research


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