Vol. 2 No. 2 (2023): Promoting Integrative Healthcare: Education, Policy, and Management

Original Research Article

Behind the curtain: A narrative inquiry into nurses’ working experience in the COVID-19 referral facility in Southern Philippines

Norhanisa D. Rangaig
College of Health Sciences, Mindanao State University, Marawi City, Philippines
Ashley A. Bangcola
College of Health Sciences, Mindanao State University, Marawi City, Philippines


COVID-19, nurses, isolation, narrative inquiry, working experience, Philippines

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Accepted for publication: 2023-08-21
Peer reviewed: Yes

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Background: During the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses emerged as the forefront responders, directly confronting the outbreak and risking their well-being to provide essential care to patients afflicted by the virus. However, there is a lack of studies focusing on Filipino nurses’ working experiences.

Objective: This study explored nurses’ working experiences in a COVID-19 referral facility in Lanao del Sur, Southern Philippines.

Methods: A qualitative narrative inquiry design was employed. A semi-structured interview was used in the study to evaluate the nurses’ experiences at the COVID-19 referral center during the early stages of the pandemic. Data were collected from April to May 2022. A thematic analysis process was used for data analysis.

Results: Three main themes were generated: 1) Working in a COVID-19 referral facility is not a matter of choice, skills mastery, or readiness, 2) Actual experience of working in the COVID-19 referral facility can be both physically and psychologically exhausting, but it brings about self-fulfillment, and 3) Social support and non-scientific sources of support can assist nurses in coping with difficulty and stress associated with working the COVID-19 facility.

Conclusion: Getting through the pandemic was not easy. This study lifted the curtain that has been kept closed from the eyes of the general public for more than two years. Despite nurses being seen as resilient towards their job, it exposed their vulnerable sides that they never talked about. It also helped us grasp what it meant for nurses who worked tirelessly in the COVID-19 isolation area, a task that only a few nurses took on. These findings can provide insights for healthcare leaders on how to help nurses during tough times.

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Declaration of Conflicting Interest

The authors declared no competing interests in this study.


The authors would like to thank all the participants who took part in the study.

Authors’ Contributions

NDR contributed to all stages of the study, from inception to dissemination. AAB contributed to the literature review, data entry, participant care, and contributing to manuscript preparation. Together, their collaborative efforts drive the success of the study. All authors met ICMJE authorship criteria, were accountable for each step of the study, and approved the final version of the article to be published.

Data Availability Statement

Data were available upon request to the corresponding author.

Declaration of the Use of AI in Scientific Writing

Nothing to declare.


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