Nurses confronting the coronavirus: Challenges met and lessons learned to date

Connie M. Ulrich, Cynda H. Rushton, Christine Grady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Registered nurses are an essential workforce group across the globe. They use their expertise and skill sets every day in clinical practice to protect, promote, and advocate on behalf of patients and families under their care. In this article we discuss the physical, emotional, and moral stresses that nurses are experiencing in their day-to-day practice settings created by the novel coronavirus. We consider the demands placed on nurses by unexpected patient surges within hospital environments and inadequate personal protective equipment and other critical resources, challenging nurses’ ability to meet their professional and ethical obligations. We also share our thoughts on supporting nurses and others now, and ideas for needed healing for both individuals and organizations as we move forward. Finally, we argue for the need for substantive reform of institutional processes and systems that can deliver quality care in the future when faced with another devastating humanitarian and public health crises.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)838-844
Number of pages7
JournalNursing outlook
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • COVID-19
  • Ethics
  • Lessons Learned
  • Nurses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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