Participant Information Sheet


Welcome from David Richards and the COVID-NURSE study team

Thank you for thinking about filling in this questionnaire. COVID-19 has caused both an incredible disruption to nurses’ activities caring for patients and simultaneously brought about an amazing amount of innovative practice in response. Society has understood the importance of nursing and nurses have risen to the challenge of overcoming barriers to caring for these patients.

Many nurses and health care workers have spontaneously adapted their work by changing their practices or introducing novel approaches in the way they care for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 in hospital. This is what we are interested in. We want to know what you have done. We want to bring all these adaptions and new ideas together and find out what really works for patients.

We are a national group of nurses, patients and other health professionals including physiotherapy, occupational therapy and nutritional expertise. We have been funded by the National Institute for Health Research to undertake this research. We explain more about the survey below, and you can discuss taking part with a researcher before doing so using the contact names at the end of this section.

So, thank you once again from myself and the team.

Best wishes,
Professor David Richards, Head of Nursing, University of Exeter, UK
Chief-investigator of the COVID-NURSE Study, on behalf of the study team.

What is this survey about? 

In this UK-wide survey we are asking you to identify what you have done to deliver fundamental nursing care to patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 in hospital during the pandemic. We are particularly interested in any barriers you faced and innovations or changes in practice you have instigated to overcome these barriers. We only want to know about your experiences of nursing patients who were not invasively ventilatedi.e. patients who may have had breathing support and other nursing care but werenot intubated with sedation. Our subsequent clinical trial will ask patients to tell us about their experiences of being nursed for which a state of consciousness is required.

If you are happy to continue to the survey, please would you also send us any examples of existing protocols and procedures that you have used specifically for nursing patients with the SARS-CoV-2 virus to the following email account: . This is a secure account belonging to a member of the Exeter Clinical Trials Unit and not accessible by the research team. Any examples of protocols will be saved, and emails of forwarded documentation will be immediately deleted from personal and institutional computers once receipt is acknowledged.

What do we mean by ‘Fundamental Care’?

Fundamental care describes actions that nurses take which focus on meeting a patient’s essential needs, such as personal cleanliness, going to the toilet, eating and drinking, mobility, comfort and safety to ensure their physical and psychosocial wellbeing.
Nurses meet these patient needs by developing a positive and trusting relationship with the person being cared for, as well as with people that are close to the person and/or care for them.

What will we do with your answers?

We will use the results of this survey to bring together all the innovations and new approaches used by nurses to care for people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 in hospital. We will then develop a nursing protocol (a type of guideline) which we will test in a clinical research trial. The study – a randomised controlled trial – will tell us what really works for patients and nurses in terms of their experiences of care.

We will publish the results from this survey and the clinical trial on the study website and using other media such as professional journals, academic journals and through the press and online media. We will make our results freely available so that nurses throughout the UK and globally can use our protocol for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

Your responses will be treated with absolute confidentiality. We will ensure that our results are anonymised, and we will not identify anyone who has responded to the survey or taken part in the trial.

How will your information be kept confidential?

Due to recent regulatory changes in the way that data is processed (General Data Protection Regulation 2018 and the Data Protection Act 2018) the University of Exeter’s lawful basis to process personal data for the purposes of carrying out research is termed as a ‘task in the public interest’. The University will endeavour to be transparent about its processing of your personal data and this information sheet should provide a clear explanation of this. If you do have any queries about the University’s processing of your personal data that cannot be resolved by the research team, further information may be obtained from the University’s Data Protection Officer by emailing  or at If you have any concerns about how the data is controlled and managed for this study then you can also contact the Sponsor Representative, Pam Baxter, Senior Research Governance Officer, whose details are below.

Survey data will be pseudoanonymised and handled independently by the Exeter Clinical Trials Unit (ExeCTU) following GDPR guidelines before anonymised data are shared with the research team for analysis. Data will be collected and stored in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018. Each participant will be allocated a unique survey number which we will use to anonymously label all research data. Personally identifiable data will be stored separately to research data (e.g. completed and partially completed questionnaires and email addresses) and will be destroyed when the project is concluded (completed questionnaires) or on acknowledgement of receipt (email addresses). Where data are disseminated (e.g. via report, presentation or publication), they will be anonymised. We will align all confidentiality and data handling with the Caldicott Principles ethical framework. Anonymised data will be stored indefinitely on a research data storage system provided by the University of Exeter called Open access Research Exeter (ORE) for archiving (

We have worded questions carefully to minimise risk of intrusion or upset, but there is a low risk that some people may be adversely affected by the questions asked. If you do feel affected by some of these questions, you can find support through your GP, or survey research contacts at the links provided.

You do not have to take part if you do not want to. This will not affect your employment or legal rights whether you choose to take part or not. This survey has been reviewed by the Health Research Authority.

We will automatically record partially completed survey data after gaining consent. Initially we will keep a key and the CTU will hold the link between your survey and email address. This means you can withdraw your consent at any point until the end of the project. Should you wish at any stage of the survey to withdraw your consent and would like your data to be deleted please request this in an email to the study team. Contact details are listed in the next section. It is important to state the approximate time and date you activated the survey and the point at which you exited the survey.

At the end of the project your identifier will be destroyed and you can no longer withdraw.

Who can I contact for further information?

The University of Exeter privacy notice can be found here:

If you have any further questions relating to the survey, please contact:
Study Administrator: Merryn  Kent

Research support: Naomi  Morley

If you have any concerns or complaints about this survey, please contact:
Sponsor Representative: Pam Baxter

Please note that for this survey we are only seeking information on nursing care in hospitals during the COVID pandemic.

If you work in primary care or community settings and were not deployed to provide inpatient care during COVID pandemic care, this survey is not suitable for you.

Where have you worked during the COVID pandemic?

  • Hospital (go to next Q)
  • Hospital and Secondary/Primary care (go to next Q)
  • Primary care or community settings (this leads to exclusion & EOS message)

If you have been working in a hospital during COVID-19 pandemic have you been actively providing or managing the provision of care to patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19?

  1. yes (1) continue with survey
  1. no (2) need to skip to the end of the survey with EOS message

By filling in this survey you will help us to find out what has really worked for you and your patients so that all nurses can adopt these strategies. We really appreciate your help!

How long will it take me to complete the survey?     

The questions in this survey are split into 3 main sections.
We expect that it will take you about 25 minutes to complete this survey. We acknowledge that this is not brief, however we greatly value your experiences and ideas for innovation in nursing which are vital for future research and practice.
You do not have to complete all the sections in one sitting. Your responses will be automatically saved as you go along.
You can take a break and return to the survey at the point at which you left it.
The survey will remain open for a maximum period of 3 weeks from the point at which you activated the link, until the survey closes on 24th August 2020.

 What do I have to do?     

Each section starts with an introduction followed by a statement or question about nursing during the COVID pandemic.
Please respond to each statement or question as it relates to your practice.
There are no right or wrong answers.

There are free text comment sections under some questions where we invite further information.
Please add comments and suggestions if you wish.

What comments should I write?  

If you feel strongly about a statement, please use the comment box to explain why.
You can use this space to tell us more about missed aspects, barriers to and innovations in nursing care

What if I need a break?   

Each section is clearly marked
Use the next >> button to go forward
Use the back << button to review your answers

If you log off your responses will be saved, and you will be taken back to the same place in the survey when you log back on.
The progress bar will indicate your progress through the survey.
Once you have completed the survey you will not be able to go back.