Living with pulmonary sequelae of COVID-19 and the implications for clinical nursing practice: A qualitative systematised review

Cameron Albright, Jacqueline Limoges, Gwen R. Rempel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Aim: To synthesise qualitative research on pulmonary sequelae of COVID-19 and identify patient needs and experiences to develop nursing care strategies. Background: Qualitative research on long COVID by subtype has not yet occurred. As pulmonary sequelae constitute a serious long COVID subtype, exploring patient experience and needs can generate knowledge to guide nursing practice. Design: Systematised review methodology utilised on a purposive sample of published articles and reported using the PRISMA guidelines and checklists. Searched MEDLINE, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health, and Google Scholar, for English or French articles published from February 2020 to June 2022; qualitative research with adults recovering from COVID-19 with evidence of pulmonary sequelae. Methods: Established principles for data extraction followed related to data reduction, data presentation, data comparison, and conclusion formulation and verification. Analysis was informed by Thorne's Interpretive Description and extended with Meleis' transitions theory, Mishel's uncertainty in illness theory and Moore et al.'s holistic theory of unpleasant symptoms. The quality of included studies was assessed Joanna Briggs Institute critical appraisal tool for qualitative research. Results: Four articles with six pooled participants provided data to yield three main themes: (1) a novel health-illness transition, (2) lung injury and pulmonary fibrosis as antecedent to illness uncertainty, (3) and pulmonary symptoms that are compounded by fatigue and weakness. Conclusion: Pulmonary sequelae of COVID-19 confers a unique health-illness transition, uncertainties and symptoms that can be addressed by theory informed nursing practice. Relevance to Clinical Practice: Advocacy, optimising the nurse–patient relationship, offering up-to-date information and addressing uncertainty may help patients cope with pulmonary sequelae, a complex subtype of long COVID with important considerations for clinical nursing care. Despite a lack of evidence-informed clinical pathways, nurses can support patients to understand novel treatments, support discharge planning and acknowledge the synergistic nature of pulmonary symptoms and fatigue to support health-illness transitions. No Patient or Public Contribution: This article involved analysis of previously published works.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7650-7660
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number21-22
Publication statusPublished - Nov. 2023


  • COVID-19
  • coronavirus
  • long COVID
  • nursing care
  • pandemic
  • pulmonary sequelae
  • symptoms
  • transitions
  • uncertainty


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