Healthcare workers attitudes to working during pandemic influenza: A qualitative study

Centre for Biomedical Ethics, The University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.
BMC Public Health (Impact Factor: 2.32). 03/2009; 9:56. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-9-56
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Healthcare workers (HCWs) will play a key role in any response to pandemic influenza, and the UK healthcare system's ability to cope during an influenza pandemic will depend, to a large extent, on the number of HCWs who are able and willing to work through the crisis. UK emergency planning will be improved if planners have a better understanding of the reasons UK HCWs may have for their absenteeism, and what might motivate them to work during an influenza pandemic.This paper reports the results of a qualitative study that explored UK HCWs' views (n = 64) about working during an influenza pandemic, in order to identify factors that might influence their willingness and ability to work and to identify potential sources of any perceived duty on HCWs to work.
A qualitative study, using focus groups (n = 9) and interviews (n = 5).
HCWs across a range of roles and grades tended to feel motivated by a sense of obligation to work through an influenza pandemic. A number of significant barriers that may prevent them from doing so were also identified. Perceived barriers to the ability to work included being ill oneself, transport difficulties, and childcare responsibilities. Perceived barriers to the willingness to work included: prioritising the wellbeing of family members; a lack of trust in, and goodwill towards, the NHS; a lack of information about the risks and what is expected of them during the crisis; fear of litigation; and the feeling that employers do not take the needs of staff seriously. Barriers to ability and barriers to willingness, however, are difficult to separate out.
Although our participants tended to feel a general obligation to work during an influenza pandemic, there are barriers to working, which, if generalisable, may significantly reduce the NHS workforce during a pandemic. The barriers identified are both barriers to willingness and to ability. This suggests that pandemic planning needs to take into account the possibility that staff may be absent for reasons beyond those currently anticipated in UK planning documents. In particular, staff who are physically able to attend work may nonetheless be unwilling to do so. Although there are some barriers that cannot be mitigated by employers (such as illness, transport infrastructure etc.), there are a number of remedial steps that can be taken to lesson the impact of others (providing accommodation, building reciprocity, provision of information and guidance etc). We suggest that barriers to working lie along an ability/willingness continuum, and that absenteeism may be reduced by taking steps to prevent barriers to willingness becoming perceived barriers to ability.

Download full-text


Available from: Jonathan Ives, Aug 08, 2015
1 Follower
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Tippett and co-authors are to be congratulated for an insightful and well written paper that addresses an important issue in prehospital care. Governments and emergency operations personnel often plan for future pandemics with a focus on distribution of “stuff ” such as gloves, masks, beds, and ventilators. Inadequate attention is directed to healthcare provider staffing, including staffing of prehospital care units. A basis for the focus on “stuff ” is an assumption that healthcare workers have a “duty-to-care ” and will respond willingly with generous disregard of personal safety and personal obligations to provide staffing during increased demand for care of a pandemic affected population. In their paper, Tippett and co-authors examine the willingness of prehospital providers to respond to different health emergencies. The paper appropriately studies the association of pandemic response willingness to perceived safety for the healthcare provider and their family as well as support from their employers. As the authors note, there is little in the way of literature that has looked at response of prehospital providers in the setting of a pandemic.
    Prehospital and disaster medicine: the official journal of the National Association of EMS Physicians and the World Association for Emergency and Disaster Medicine in association with the Acute Care Foundation 02/2010; 25(1):26-7. DOI:10.1017/S1049023X00007615
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The current influenza pandemic confronting our health care system is a challenge for the responsible authorities to manage with an integrated, system-wide approach. As the entire health care system is Iikely to become overburdened, referrals between different levels of care should be coordinated, guided by the use of triage protocols. This paper discusses the new and important role of triage as a tool for managing patient flow during an influenza pandemic, although the specifics of the various protocols already in use internationally are not analyzed in detail. Certainly, triage is a key clinical tool at the service of public health. La actual situación de pandemia gripal a la que se enfrenta nuestro sistema sanitario supone todo un reto que debe de ser gestionado de una manera integral por parte de los responsables sanitarios. Debido a una más que probable saturación del sistema sanitario a todos los niveles, es necesario instaurar protocolos de triaje coordinados entre los distintos niveles asistenciales. En este artículo se presenta como novedad el importante papel que puede tener el triaje como una herramienta al servicio de los profesionales sanitarios para gestionar los flujos de pacientes que se producirán debido a la pandemia gripal, sin entrar a analizar los distintos protocolos de triaje que ya se manejan a nivel internacional. En definitiva, se da al triaje una importancia relevante en cuanto a su papel como herramienta clínica al servicio de la salud pública.
    Emergencias 01/2009; 21(5). · 2.58 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Dans les pays industrialisés, l’émergence de virus influenza à potentiel pandémique a suscité des réactions à la mesure de la menace que représentent ces agents infectieux. Cependant, à l’heure de la mondialisation, le contrôle des épidémies repose tout autant sur une coordination mondiale efficace des moyens de lutte que sur une préparation des systèmes de santé nationaux du Nord et du Sud, au centre desquels se trouvent les personnels soignants. Notre étude a pris place dans le principal hôpital nigérien, l’Hôpital national de Niamey. L’objectif était d’évaluer les connaissances des professionnels de soins en matière de pandémie grippale et de contrôle du risque infectieux. Sur la base d’un questionnaire, nous avons interrogé 178 soignants, médicaux et paramédicaux. Cette étude — la première à notre connaissance à explorer ces questions dans le contexte africain — a d’abord mis en lumière une certaine maîtrise des connaissances théoriques sur la grippe aviaire par les soignants. Cependant, au-delà des savoirs théoriques, l’enquête a également permis d’identifier des limites importantes compromettant les capacités de prévention et de lutte contre une pandémie grippale, notamment en termes d’organisation des soins et de contrôle du risque infectieux hospitalier.
    Bulletin de la Société de pathologie exotique 02/2011; 105(1). DOI:10.1007/s13149-011-0179-8
Show more