The 2014 – 2015 Ebola outbreak in the West African region resulted in many deaths and has been responsible for devastating health and socioeconomic upheaval. The decision of nurses and midwives whether or not to render care during outbreaks is vital for the containment of the disease. The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of nurses and midwives during the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. A grounded theory method based on Corbin and Strauss (2015) and Charmaz (2014) was used, resulting in a conceptual model describing the process involved in the work decisions made by the study participants. A convenience sample of 30 registered nurses and registered midwives were recruited from three hospitals (10 from each hospital). One of the hospitals was private faith-based, one was private faith-based and received funds from the government, and the third was government managed. Using an interview guide, data were collected through face-to-face, semi-structured, and tape-recorded interviews. The core category identified in the data was “living in fear and terror.” Other categories identified in the data were family, professionalism, God and safety, institutional influences, government efforts, and stigmatization. The work decisions of nurses and midwives were primarily influenced by family responsibilities and demands. The nurses and midwives experienced changes in the dynamics of the nurse-patient relationship and in the nurse-nurse relationship, depending on whether or not they continued working. The findings of this study could be applied to education, practice, research, and health policies related to future disease outbreaks in Liberia and other regions in the world. Nursing curricula should include Ebola nursing care. An intervention study could be designed to test modes of safe touch with patients and the ramifications for practice. The role that faith plays in the decisions made by nurses and midwives should be recognized. Administrators and policy makers need to consider the emotional needs associated with the family, isolation, and stigmatization of nurses and midwives when developing measures and policies for Ebola containment.

LLU Discipline





School of Nursing

First Advisor

Winslow, Betty W.

Second Advisor

Gaede, Donn

Third Advisor

Pothier, Patricia

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Medical Science)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Nursing; Hemorrhagic Fever - Ebola; Decision Making; Liberia; Midwives

Subject - Local

Grounded theory method; Nursing experiences; Infectious diseases



Page Count


Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives