Original Research

Primary care nurses’ preparedness for COVID-19 in the Western Cape province, South Africa

Talitha Crowley, Danine Kitshoff, Frances de Lange-Cloete, Justine Baron, Santel de Lange, Cornelle Young, Tonya Esterhuizen, Ian Couper
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 13, No 1 | a2879 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v13i1.2879 | © 2021 Talitha Crowley, Danine Kitshoff, Frances de Lange-Cloete, Justine Baron, Santel De Lange, Cornelle Young, Tonya Esterhuizen, Ian Couper | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 December 2020 | Published: 28 May 2021

About the author(s)

Talitha Crowley, Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Danine Kitshoff, Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Frances de Lange-Cloete, Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Justine Baron, Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Santel de Lange, Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Cornelle Young, Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Tonya Esterhuizen, Department of Global Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town; and, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Department of Global Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Ian Couper, Department of Global Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa; and, Ukwanda Centre for Rural Health, Department of Global Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

Abstract

Introduction: The novel coronavirus 2019 or COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a global public health crisis. Primary care (PC) nurses render first line care, or refer for more specialised services.

Aim: To investigate the preparedness of PC nurses for COVID-19 in the Western Cape.

Setting: The Western Cape province of South Africa.

Methods: We administered an online survey, with closed and open-ended questions, to 83 Stellenbosch University postgraduate PC nursing students and alumni working in the Western Cape, between 03 July and 01 September 2020.

Results: The results indicated that 43.3% of participants were confident about the infection, prevention, and control (IPC) training they received and 56.7% felt prepared to provide direct care to suspected cases of COVID-19. Primary care nurses were more comfortable to triage (78.3%) than to manage persons with COVID-19 (42.2%), indicating that they may not be functioning to the full capacity of their education and training. Adequate infrastructure was reported by less than a third of the participants (30.1%) and 59.1% reported that personal protective equipment (PPE) was always available. Primary care nurses needed support in coping with stress (57.8%) although few (14.5%) reported access to mental health services.

Conclusion: Primary care nurses were not prepared optimally for the COVID-19 pandemic. Challenges included adequate training, infrastructure, the availability of personal protective equipment, COVID-19 testing of health care workers and management support. Primary care nurses need comprehensive support to manage stress and anxiety.


Keywords

COVID-19; primary care; nurses; preparedness; Western Cape

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Crossref Citations

1. Non-communicable disease care and management in two sites of the Cape Town Metro during the first wave of COVID-19: A rapid appraisal
Peter A. Delobelle, Mumtaz Abbas, Ishaaq Datay, Angela De Sa, Naomi Levitt, Darcelle Schouw, Steve Reid
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine  vol: 14  issue: 1  year: 2022  
doi: 10.4102/phcfm.v14i1.3215