Working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic for midwifery and nursing academics
The COVID-19 pandemic significantly affected teaching for nursing and midwifery academics, as it shifted from face-to-face to online teaching from home. However, their experiences and how this impacted their ability to fulfil their academic roles has not been reported. This study investigated midwifery and nursing academics' working from home experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic and how this has impacted their ability to fulfil their academic roles.
A qualitative approach was used for this study, analysing demographics and the answers to open-ended questions from 91 midwifery and nursing academics.
Six themes were derived: isolation, loneliness, work rituals, productivity, blurred boundaries and health and wellbeing. Generally, participants reported that they were more organised, focused and efficient, which gave them more time to spend with their families and pets. Most thought that they were more productive at home. However, the working environments for some participants were not ideal, as they were working in their kitchen or dining area, or in ‘make-do’ offices.
The COVID-19 pandemic posed new working challenges for academics, many of whom had worked from home for a few days, but then needed to work from home for extended periods because of lockdowns. Academics reported an overall positive outlook for working from home, as it enabled more family time and more productivity.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a far-reaching impact on nursing and midwifery education and subsequently, the academics that provide teaching and learning. As a result of lockdowns being enforced in many cities worldwide, university campuses were required to close for academics and students, causing disruption to teaching and learning (Carolan et al, 2020). Globally, many nursing and midwifery academics embraced online theoretical teaching and learning from home in what had been a traditionally face-to-face learning environment (Haslam, 2021). Nursing and midwifery academics had previously worked from home for some days during their working week, primarily for research-based activities. However, there was a sudden shift to only working from home for extended periods of time because of the lockdowns. This involved learning about new technology and a major pivot in pedagogical approaches from face-to-face to distance learning, which are very differently constructed approaches, when delivering distance education in nursing and midwifery curriculums (Leigh et al, 2020).
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