The SARS crisis: Reflections of Hong Kong nurses

E. Holroyd, C. McNaught

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) exerted a massive toll on Hong Kong's healthcare system in 2003. Aim: This research examines front-line nurses' reflections on the time of SARS in Hong Kong in order to articulate: (1) the nature and complexity of their experience, and (2) what lessons can be learned for future disease crises. Methods: Personal reflective essays written in 2004 by seven senior nurses studying a part-time Masters in Nursing degree at a Hong Kong university were analysed using a form of content analysis. Findings: The nurses' stories report immense personal costs on nurses, on their families and on the wider community. The analysis of the narratives was used to build a model, indicating how nurses' personal lives were 'sandwiched' between, on the one hand, their commitment to families and local community and, on the other hand, their professional commitment to the needs of a health system in crisis. Conclusion: In dealing with future health crises, it is imperative that a multilevel approach be taken.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-33
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Nursing Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Health crisis
  • Health system policy
  • Hong Kong
  • Narrative research
  • Role of nurses
  • SARS


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