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Critical care nurses’ perceptions of caring for patients at a selected hospital in KwaZulu-Natal.

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Background: Caring in a critical care setting requires a holistic process of individualised, patient-focused, and specialised care within a work intensive and technologically focused environment. These are what have an impact on how caring unfolds within a critical care environment. The COVID-19 pandemic has further altered the care relationship between critical care nurses, critically ill patients and their families. Aim: To determine critical care nurse’s perceptions of caring for patients at a selected hospital in KwaZulu-Natal Methods: A quantitative, descriptive, cross-sectional study was conducted on 139 participants in a tertiary quaternary hospital. Data collection used the Caring Assessment for Caregivers questionnaire, and analysis was with descriptive statistics. Results: Results revealed that most of the participants were females above 30 years, holding a Diploma in Nursing and had > 10 years of work experience. Participants had an overall high perception of caring, with a total mean score of 116.01 (range of 25- 125). Of the five subscales, the subscale of “Maintaining belief,” had the highest mean composite score 24.25(range of 5-25) and the subscale of “Being with,” had the lowest mean composite score 22.70. There was no significant relationship found between the critical care nurses’ socio-demographic characteristics, the overall score and the total scores of each of the five subscales. Conclusion: Whilst critical care nurses reported a high overall perception of caring, lower mean scores on the subscale “Being with” suggest that there areas for critical care nurses to grow in their role as carers. Further research is necessary for replication of the study using qualitative approaches to bring forth valuable findings on how the critical care environment has an impact on the caring experiences of critical care nurses.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.