Experiences of critical care health care workers working in a regional Australian intensive care during COVID-19

Mrs Sarah Mineall1, Dr Andrew Foong, Dr David Lees

1Tasmanian Health Service, Launceston, Australia, 2University of Tasmania, Sydney, Australia, 3University of Tasmania, Newnham, Australia


Health care workers in intensive care units are at the forefront of caring for those critically unwell with COVID -19.  This qualitative research project aimed to explore the experiences of all health care workers in a regional intensive care unit through one on one interviews.  10 interviews were conducted in total with 4 nurses, 2 doctors, 2 allied health staff members and 2 auxiliary staff members.  The findings from this research has shown similar themes to the experiences reported in the literature relating to fear, excitement, fatigue as well as the challenges of working during this time.  What this research adds to the body of knowledge is what staff would do differently if faced with a second waved of COVID-19 or another pandemic.  This research has also shown how the passion of nursing can make a positive impact on those around them, especially when confronted with a virus that is impacting not only our professional lives but also our personal lives.


Sarah’s nursing career started at the James Cook University, Townsville in 1997 and after meeting her now husband,  a paramedic, moved to the beautiful island of Tasmania in 2004.  After trying to juggle 3 small children and shift work around the life of a paramedic it led Sarah  to day work and implementing a research project in the LGH ICU.  This eventually led to fulltime ICU research work and wanting to expand her research knowledge pursued a Nursing Honours Research Project in 2020. Sarah started working as project nurse for Pandemic Preparedness in 2021.