• Armenia;
  • nursing practice;
  • qualitative study;
  • workforce issues

Aims and objectives.  The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to explore the views of head and staff nurses about nursing practice in the hospitals of Armenia.

Background.  Armenia inherited its nursing frameworks from the Soviet Union. After the Soviet collapse, many changes took place to reform nursing. However, to date little has been systematically documented about nursing practice in Armenia.

Design.  Qualitative descriptive design was implemented.

Methods.  Three major hospitals in Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia, participated in the study. Purposeful sampling was used. Forty-three nurses participated, 29 staff and fourteen head nurses. Data were collected through five focus groups comprised of seven to ten participants. A focus group guide was developed. The researcher facilitated the discussions in Armenian, which were audio taped. The research assistant took notes. Data were transcribed and translated into English, imported into atlas.ti 6.1 qualitative software, and analysed by three authors.

Results.  Five themes were extracted. Lack of role clarity theme was identified from the head nurse data. The practice environment theme was identified from the staff nurse data. Nursing education, value, respect and appreciation of nursing, and becoming a nurse were common themes identified from both head and staff nurse data. Head nurses lack autonomy, do not have clear roles and are burdened with documentation. Staff nurses practice in challenging work environments with inadequate staffing and demanding workloads. All nurses reported the need to improve nursing education.

Conclusions.  This is the first study conducted in Armenia exploring nursing practice in the hospitals from the nurses’ perspectives. Nurses face challenges that may impact their wellbeing and patient care.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Understanding challenges nursing practice faces in the hospitals in Armenia will help administrators and care providers to take actions to improve nursing practice and subsequently patient care.