Nurses' perceptions of risk from emerging respiratory infectious diseases: A Singapore study

Authors

  • Yiwen Koh BSc (Nursing) (Hons),

    1. 4th Year Undergraduate Student, Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore
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  • Desley Hegney RN BA (Hons) PhD,

    1. Winthrop Professor, School of Population Health, The University of Western Australia and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Western Australia, Australia
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  • Vicki Drury RN RMHN PhD

    1. Associate Professor, School of Population Health, The University of Western Australia, Western Australia, Australia
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Yiwen Koh, Ward 6B, Medical Intensive Care Unit, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, 11 Jalan Tan Tock Seng, Singapore 308433. Email: yiwenkoh87@gmail.com

Abstract

Koh Y, Hegney D, Drury V. International Journal of Nursing Practice 2012; 18: 195–204

Nurses' perceptions of risk from emerging respiratory infectious diseases: A Singapore study

The recent emergence of virulent respiratory infectious diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Influenza A/H1N1 viruses predisposes nurses to occupational risks. This qualitative study investigated how Chinese Singaporean nurses perceived the risks of exposure to these infectious diseases and the factors that influenced this risk perception.

Data were collected through face-to-face interviews and were analyzed using Braun and Clarke's process of thematic analysis. Three themes emerged: living with risk; the experience of SARS; and acceptance of risk. The nature of nursing work was perceived to place participants at risk of infection. Another significant finding of this study is that the government's, organizations' and nurses' perceptions of new emerging respiratory infectious diseases were influenced by their previous experience with SARS. Similar to previous studies, nurses working at the ‘front line’ believed that infection from these diseases was an unavoidable occupational hazard.

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