Nurses’ challenges, concerns and unfair requirements during the COVID-19 outbreak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: During disease outbreaks, nurses express concerns regarding the organizational and social support required to manage role conflicts. Objectives: The study examined concerns, threats, and attitudes relating to care provision during the COVID-19 outbreak among nurses in Israel. Design: A 53-item questionnaire was designed for this research, including four open-ended questions. The article used a qualitative research to analyze the responses to the open-ended questions and their association with responses to the close-ended ones. Participants and research context: In all, 231 registered nurses and fourth-year nursing students throughout the whole country. The questionnaire was delivered in nursing Facebook and WhatsApp groups and through snowball sampling. Ethical considerations: The research was pre-approved by the Ethics Committee at the researchers’ university. Results: Nurses mostly referred to personal risk, followed by dilemmas regarding care provision. On average, 38.6% of quotations stated that during the pandemic, nurses are not asked to perform unfair duties. Nurses discussed activities and requirements that impact their personal and familial safety, their relationship with employer, organization or the state, and their duty to providing care. Other than fear of contraction, respondents’ most frequent themes of concerns were related to work condition and patients’ interests, inter-collegiate relationships, and uncertainty and worries about the future. Respondents’ ethical dilemmas mostly referred to clinical questions, providing care without adequate equipment or managerial support, and in conditions of uncertainty and increased risk. Discussion: Nurses raise important issues concerning their relationships with employers and family members, and significant insights regarding the pandemic and their revised responsibilities and definition of work. They raise serious concerns regarding their rights at work and their standing for them. Conclusions: Health managers should find ways to enhance the ethical climate and institutional support to enable a better work-life balance in times of pandemic and support nurses’ working needs and labor rights.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1096-1110
Number of pages15
JournalNursing Ethics
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • COVID-19
  • Clinical dilemmas
  • duty of care
  • family
  • qualitative research
  • rights at work
  • risk
  • work-life balance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects


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