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compassion, communication, COVID-19 pandemic, empathy, end-of-life care, nursing care



  1. Price, Deborah M. DNP
  2. Bigelow, April PhD, ACNP-BC
  3. Mason, Heidi DNP, ACNP-BC
  4. Harden, Karen DNP, AOCNS, BMTCN


The COVID-19 pandemic has created a global health crisis. Novel and intolerable pressures have been placed upon nurses affecting their capacity to provide care. The aim of this exploratory study was to determine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on nursing care delivery, the empathetic response of nurses to their patients and family members, and the emotional and physical well-being of the nurses. Four frontline nurses were interviewed while in the midst of the pandemic. Common themes emerged from analysis of the nurses' narratives and included changes in role, increased workload, depersonalized and mechanical care delivery, communication challenges with patient and family members, deficits in palliative care education, perceived poor administrative support, and physical/emotional exhaustion. Clinical leaders and nursing staff have opportunities to engage in supportive endeavors, which can restore focus and regain positive perceptions, strengthen coping skills, and deliver palliative care education in response to the ongoing challenges and stressors created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, they can build resilience in frontline nurses and ultimately impact delivery of compassionate and empathetic care to patients.