Exploring the Experiences of Health Care Providers and Managers in the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Summative Content Analysiss

Background: The rapid morbidity and high mortality rates associated with COVID-19 have placed significant strain on healthcare systems. Mazandaran, as the third province, has been affected by this infectious pandemic. Objectives: The present study aimed to explore the experiences of healthcare providers and managers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: The present qualitative research study was conducted using the content analysis approach between April 2022 and August 2022 to provide deep insights into the experiences of healthcare providers and managers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The participants included 15 hospital managers, comprising 2 clinical nurse supervisors, 3 matrons, and 10 chief executive officers. The participants were purposefully selected from hospitals affiliated with Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Iran. Data were collected through semi-structured individual interviews and the assessment of documents from the vice-chancellors of treatment, food and drug, development, and human resources. Results: The category of "challenges and strategies" emerged during the process of reducing and abstracting the codes. The challenges category evolved from three subcategories, including care and cure challenges, challenges related to providing physical resources and personal protective equipment (PPE), and challenges faced by healthcare providers. Similarly, the strategies category emerged from three subcategories, including strategies to improve patient care and treatment outcomes, strategies for procuring PPE and physical resources, and strategies for human resource management. Conclusions: The results of the present study revealed several challenges and strategies experienced by healthcare managers at Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences and hospital managers. Additionally, based on the existing infrastructure of Mazandaran University and the managerial skills of the managers, successful strategies were employed to tackle these challenges. These experiences can be utilized to inform revisions to health-related policies. Documenting these experiences can aid in better management of future infectious pandemics.