Publication date: Sep 18, 2023
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a deleterious impact on the lives of nurses who work in long-term care; however, the moral conditions of their work have been largely unexamined. The purpose of this qualitative study, therefore, was to explore registered practical nurses’ (RPNs) experiences of the moral habitability of long-term care environments in Ontario, Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. Four themes were identified: (1) Striving to meet responsibilities in a failed system; (2) bearing the moral and emotional weight of residents’ isolation and dying in a context of strict public health measures; (3) knowing the realities of the work, yet failing to be heard, recognized, or supported by management; and (4) struggling to find a means of preservation for themselves and the profession. Attention to the moral habitability of RPNs’ work environments is necessary to achieve a high-quality, ethically attuned, and sustainable nursing workforce in long-term care.