The nurses’ experience in caring for mechanically ventilated patients in the intensive care unit of an academic hospital in Gauteng

Mbachu, Judith Nkeiruka
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Aim: This study explored and described the experiences of nurses caring for patients mechanically ventilated in intensive care units of the academic hospitals in Johannesburg Method: A qualitative, descriptive and exploratory design was used in this study. A purposive sample of 10 intensive care nurses were recruited from a total of participants (intensive care nurses) recruited from the total population of (n =31) nurses working in the two ICUs of an academic hospital in Gauteng. Data was collected using one open-ended question and followed by probes. Data was analysed using Clark and Braun’s (2013 method of thematic analysis and findings were reported in the narrative. Findings: From the findings of the study, three themes emerged during the analysis process which reflected the nurses’ experience of caring for mechanically ventilated patients which include nurses’ feelings and emotions, nurses’ knowledge and experience and nurses’ skills. In this study, the nurses’ feelings were expressed by the participants through compassionate care and requirement to ensure the patient was comfortable and pain-free. The nurses’ knowledge and experience included technical knowledge, knowledge and professional experience. Categories supporting knowledge and professional experience were expressed as knowing the patient, caring for family, technical knowledge, prioritising time for caring interventions and managing critical situations. The nurses’ skills included nurse patient interaction, physical care, supportive care and barriers that impede the delivery of effective caring for mechanically ventilated patients. Conclusion: The study offered South African nurses’ in intensive care an opportunity to share their experiences of caring for mechanically ventilated patients. Insight and a deeper understanding of the nature of nurses’ caring is provided that will enable future research in this area for development. Recommendations are made for clinical practice, education and further research.
A research report submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree Master of Science in Nursing to the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2021