Original Research - Special Collection: Contemporary Issues in Nursing

Stretched beyond our capacity: The voices of operational managers from Ekurhuleni clinics during COVID-19

Siyabulela N. Wopula, Sanele E. Nene, Elizabeth Nkosi
Curationis | Vol 45, No 1 | a2376 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v45i1.2376 | © 2022 Siyabulela N. Wopula, Sanele E. Nene, Elizabeth Nkosi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 June 2022 | Published: 02 December 2022

About the author(s)

Siyabulela N. Wopula, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Sanele E. Nene, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Elizabeth Nkosi, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Operational Managers (OMs) in primary health care (PHC) experienced new management dynamics during the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). They were not sufficiently prepared to deal with the extraordinary challenges brought by this global pandemic.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore and describe the PHC OMs’ experiences of new management dynamics in PHC facilities, created by COVID-19 pandemic.

Method: This study used a qualitative, exploratory, descriptive and contextual research design and a phenomenological approach. Data were collected using in-depth semi-structured individual interviews. Data saturation was reached by the 7th interview and two more interviews were done to confirm data saturation. Data analysis was conducted using Giorgi’s descriptive thematic phenomenological data analysis method. An independent coder was implored to confirm the findings. This study was guided by Rogers Diffusion of Innovation Theory. Ethical considerations were applied throughout the research process.

Results: One central theme and three main themes emerged as; stretching of inadequate resources. themes; (1) budgetary cuts and increasing demands of resources, (2) insufficient of personal protective equipment, other general supplies and human resources, and (3) compromised service delivery and increased client’s dissatisfaction.

Conclusion: This study revealed that OMs were over stretched and overwhelmed by the management on PHC facilities due to COVID-19 pandemic dynamics.

Contribution: The findings of this study can be implemented in PHC facilities to effectively deal with future pandemics of such a nature.


Keywords

Operational manager; COVID-19 pandemic; primary healthcare; primary health care facilities; experiences

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