Individual and work-related challenges of nursing personnel in inpatient care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany

(in German)

Nursing personnel are among the largest and most heavily burdened professional groups in Germany, even before the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has particularly affected nursing personnel with respect to new and existing professional challenges, such as infection risks, staff shortages and necessary changes in work organization. Based on a narrative literature review, this article provides an overview of challenges faced by management and nursing personnel in inpatient care during the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany. Previous reviews on pandemic-associated challenges have mainly focused on international nursing studies, providing little insight into the influences of the pandemic course and protective measures taken in Germany. Furthermore, the diversity and interdependence of pandemic-associated challenges in a highly complex work system are not sufficiently reflected in these reviews. The findings demonstrate that existing problems such as staff shortages and high workloads prior to the pandemic outbreak were exacerbated by the pandemic. Nursing staff were exposed to various professional and personal stressors, such as high responsibility and strong emotional demands. Contact with COVID-19 patients resulted in longer and less controllable working hours and less time for recovery. Improved intra-organizational and extra-organizational as well as interprofessional collaboration were reported as positive changes. The long-term effects of the reported challenges on nurses in inpatient wards remain to be seen. Pandemic-associated critical stressors in work design, such as difficulties in work planning and high demands on flexibility as well as lack of recreation, need to be urgently eliminated.

This article is published in the Journal "Zentralblatt für Arbeitsmedizin, Arbeitsschutz und Ergonomie" (2023).

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Bibliographic information

Title:  Individuelle und arbeitsbezogene Herausforderungen der Pflegekräfte in stationären Pflegeeinrichtungen während der COVID-19-Pandemie in Deutschland

Written by:  M. Zink, J. Wendsche, M. Melzer

in: Zentralblatt für Arbeitsmedizin, Arbeitsschutz und Ergonomie, 2023.  pages: 1-11, Project number: F 2541, DOI: 10.1007/s40664-023-00524-x

Further Information

Research Project

Project numberF 2541 StatusOngoing Project Interventions focusing on work organisation as a part of pandemic management in inpatient care services

To the Project

Research ongoing