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Rapid nursing redeployment from a specialist ward to a COVID-19 high-dependency setting.

BACKGROUND: Redeployment in health care can have a negative impact on the mental wellbeing of staff. Advanced planning and provisions for wellbeing support for health professionals has been recommended following previous pandemics. At the authors' institution nurses were redeployed overnight from a specialist cystic fibrosis ward to a COVID-19 high-dependency unit.

AIM: To evaluate nurses' wellbeing following this redeployment during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

METHOD: A mixed online survey, consisting of both open and closed questions, based on literature, preliminary results of the Impact of COVID-19 on the Nursing and Midwifery Workforce (ICON) study and staff feedback. This was sent to 28 nurses to explore their feelings and experiences of redeployment to a COVID-19 environment. Purposive sampling was used to select study participants while thematic analysis and descriptive statistics were used to analyse the data.

FINDINGS: The survey had an 86% response rate. Using thematic analysis three key themes emerged: redeployment anxiety, lack of organisational preparedness and newfound teamworking. More than half (57%) of respondents expressed anxiety and concern when told of their redeployment; 52% reported that they did not receive adequate support from senior staff and management. However, 74% reported that they felt their nursing was positively influenced by support and teamwork from those in patient-facing roles. Twenty-five percent reported that they were looking for a new job or leaving their current role.

CONCLUSION: This study examines the effects that redeployment to a COVID-19 environment has had on nurses. It highlights the need for further improvement to ensure redeployed staff are supported to safeguard their mental wellbeing.

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