Table 2

Early pandemic experiences, total count: 184

CountSubthemesIllustrative quotes from participants
60Dealing with the unknown
  • ‘I think the main concern was with the unknown. [The virus] is new so there wasn’t much knowledge about how to deal with it, how to treat patients, how dangerous it was. All these things were kind of stressful.’ - P8

  • ‘Many changes in policies and process flow. That created a lot of confusion for frontline practitioners because every couple of days there is, like, a change in policy that we might not have been informed about until it got implemented.’ -P6

  • ‘In the ER [Emergency Room), how anxious they are about handling patients suspected to have COVID, how anxious they are about moving the patient from area A to area B for assessment.’ -P1

83Learning and adapting
  • ‘We learned through time everything, basically. There were a lot of rules, new rules and regulations and everything. It’s not just about wearing the proper PPE and having the proper criteria, it’s a lot of other logistics.’ -P2

  • ‘Everyone knows that there is a job that has to be done’. -P5

  • ‘Some [patients] would have difficulty communicating with family virtually over the phone or over video call, so that was very stressful … I remember one time, one of my patients was in the ICU and I had to contact her [children] to let them know her condition. They hadn’t heard from her for probably 4–5 days and everyone was in tears and it was quite dramatic. I had to put my phone in a plastic bag and walk into the ICU [so they could video call).’ -P1