What did nurse researchers learn from the COVID-19 pandemic?
While communities were rocked by COVID-19, it also sparked innovation, underlined the importance of community-specific research and health and well-being
What have researchers learned from the COVID-19 pandemic? In mid-2022 we are in a world that has changed significantly from the pre-pandemic period.
Our communities have been affected by social isolation, physical distancing, and changes to employment. For nurses and midwives, the psychological toll of the loss of loved ones and colleagues, as well as caring for the dying will leave a lasting mark.
A key lesson from the pandemic is the vital importance of considering the social determinants of health and engaging marginalised and vulnerable groups in research and healthcare developments. For example, COVID-19 vaccination rates were much improved when the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse groups were investigated and addressed (Masterton 2021).
While a disruptive influence, COVID-19 also sparked innovation at a rapid speed
This highlights the importance of ensuring that our research encompasses participants representative of the communities we are investigating.
The pandemic has been a disruptive influence that has sparked innovation at a speed that otherwise may not have occurred. Increases in the use of telehealth consultations for care delivery and research, greater use of video for research interviews and the enhanced use of social media and online networking to build collaborations have all been positive outcomes.
Being forced to use these modalities has provided evidence that they can and do work as a viable alternative to face-to-face interaction. The challenge now is to carefully evaluate how we integrate these innovations with previous practices to ensure that we are using best practice in our research.
Importance of being kind to ourselves and each other
While video interviews are convenient and cost/time effective across a large geographical area, some research might be better face-to-face.
A final lesson is the importance of being kind to ourselves and to each other. Every person will have experienced the pandemic in different ways and faced varied challenges. Looking after ourselves and reaching out and ensuring that our colleagues, family and friends are well supported cannot be overlooked.
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