BACKGROUND: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a resistant variant of S. aureus and can cause pneumonia, septicaemia and, in some cases, death. Caring for patients with antibiotic resistant bacteria is a challenge for healthcare personnel. There is a risk of spreading the bacteria among patients and of healthcare personnel being infected themselves.
AIM: To describe nursing staffs' experiences of caring for patients with methicillin-resistant S. aureus in Sweden.
METHOD: A descriptive qualitative approach was used and 15 nurses from different hospitals and care units, including emergency and geriatric wards and nursing homes in Stockholm, were interviewed. All nurses had been involved in the care of patients with methicillin-resistant S. aureus, but not on a regular basis. The interviews were analysed using qualitative content analysis.
FINDINGS: Three themes emerged from the data: feeling ignorant, afraid and insecure, feeling competent and secure and feeling stressed and overworked. The more knowledge the nurses acquired about methicillin-resistant S. aureus, the more positive was their attitude to caring for these patients.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: Caring for patients with methicillin-resistant S. aureus without adequate knowledge of how to protect oneself and other patients against transmission may provoke anxiety among personnel. Guidelines, memos and adequate information at the right time are of central importance. Healthcare personnel must feel safe in their role as caregivers. All patients have the right to have the same quality of care regardless of the diagnosis and a lack of knowledge influences the level of care given.
IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING AND HEALTH POLICY: This study demonstrates the importance of education when caring for patients with infectious diseases. Hopefully, knowledge gained from our study can provide guidance for future health care when new diseases and infections occur.
Oxford: Blackwell Science Ltd , 2016. Vol. 63, no 2, 233-241 p.
Content analysis, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Nursing care, Nursing staffs' experiences, Qualitative interview, Sweden