Midwives’ experiences of utilising personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic: a qualitative descriptive study


  • Angela O'Farrell University Maternity Hospital, Limerick, Ireland
  • Anna V. Chatzi Department of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland
  • Owen Doody Department of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland; and Health Research Institute, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland




personal protective equipment, midwife, COVID-19, experience, Ireland


Background: Coronavirus has placed a lot of strain on the healthcare system. As a result, major changes have occurred in the way healthcare is delivered, including pregnancy care delivery. Within the Irish healthcare system, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has demanded frequent and ongoing adjustments to midwifery practice and the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) and its usage have come under serious scrutiny during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aim: To explore midwives experiences of utilising PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: A qualitative descriptive study utilising a purposive sampling of 10 midwives who participated in in-depth semi-structured interviews, highlighting their experiences of utilising PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data obtained was analysed using the Braun and Clarkes framework and reported in line with the consolidated criteria for qualitative research reporting (COREQ).

Results: Analysed data resulted in five themes, eight subthemes and 18 codes. The themes identified represent the participants experiences and highlight the; importance of effective communication, fear and anxiety of contracting and spreading the virus, value of peer support as a coping strategy, impact of lack of resources in the midwifery practice, and education and training effectiveness.

Conclusion: The introduced strict mandatory infection prevention and control measures, predominantly the wearing of PPE, took effect with concurrent increased stress and anxiety, while caring for pregnant women.


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How to Cite

O’Farrell, A., Chatzi, A. V., & Doody, O. (2023). Midwives’ experiences of utilising personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic: a qualitative descriptive study. International Journal of Infection Control, 19. https://doi.org/10.3396/ijic.v19.23085



Original Articles