The Psychosocial Well-being of Frontline Nurses During the COVID-19 Pandemic in South Africa




Psychosocial well-being, work-family conflict, parenting stress, nurses, healthcare workers, COVID-19 pandemic


Healthcare workers have been under tremendous psychosocial strain since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly those on the frontlines such as nurses. This is especially true in low- and middle-income countries such as South Africa, where lack of resources and support exacerbate challenges. Five focus group discussions were conducted with frontline nurses at primary, secondary, and tertiary healthcare institutions in Cape Town, South Africa. Participants reported significant stress emanating from all spheres of their life, with the acute stressors of their work having largely adverse consequences on their lives in their homes and communities. A lack of organisational support was evident, with participants highlighting various ways in which the psychosocial strain they were under may be alleviated. Healthcare facilities should investigate both individual and organisational interventions aimed at better supporting their invaluable frontline teams. These include tailored psychological support services, sufficient time for rest, adequate staffing and medical supplies, effective leadership, COVID-19 specific training, and the promotion of teamwork. However, facilities should also extend their concern to the families of staff by reducing potential risk of exposure through a variety of measures including providing transport and voluntary isolation accommodation. Such interventions are important not only for the healthcare workers and their families, but also for the smooth functioning of healthcare institutions as the pandemic draws on into an uncertain future.



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How to Cite

Wolpe, Hannah, Cathy Ward, Robyn Kruyer, and Hlengi Sacolo. 2022. “The Psychosocial Well-Being of Frontline Nurses During the COVID-19 Pandemic in South Africa”. Africa Journal of Nursing and Midwifery 24 (3):18 pages .
Received 2022-06-14
Accepted 2022-07-24
Published 2023-01-31