May 9, 2022

COVID-19 experiences of CNOs

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

This study by nurse researchers at Baptist Health Lexington, Kentucky, describes both emotional and administrative challenges chief nursing officers (CNOs) in the US faced during the COVID-19 crisis.

Interviews conducted with 9 CNOs revealed they:

  • were frustrated with constant change
  • were saddened by the volume of death
  • felt helpless in relation to the lack of information about the disease
  • felt lonely when they had to make difficult decisions
  • were overwhelmed with the magnanimity of their role.

They also voiced strategies they used to deal with the challenges, such as mitigating staff frustration with frequent, transparent communication and active presence. They described rounding around the clock and holding town hall-style virtual meetings with staff to address questions.

In addition, they expressed pride in being a nurse, and said contributing factors to their pride were the teamwork and collaboration displayed during the pandemic.

Results of this study show leadership strategies that would be useful in future healthcare crises, the researchers say.

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