Open Access Research article

Will the community nurse continue to function during H1N1 influenza pandemic: a cross-sectional study of Hong Kong community nurses?

Eliza LY Wong1, Samuel YS Wong2*, Kenny Kung, Annie WL Cheung2, Tiffany T Gao1 and Sian Griffiths1

Author Affiliations

1 School of Public Health & Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, School of Public Health Building, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong, China

2 Hospital Authority of Hong Kong, 4/F, School of Public Health Building, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong, China

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BMC Health Services Research 2010, 10:107  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-10-107

Published: 30 April 2010

Abstract

Background

Healthcare workers have been identified as one of the high risk groups for being infected with influenza during influenza pandemic. Potential levels of absenteeism among healthcare workers in hospital settings are high. However, there was no study to explore the attitudes of healthcare workers in community setting towards the preparedness to the novel H1N1 influenza pandemic. The aim of this study was to explore the willingness of community nurses in Hong Kong to work during H1N1 influenza pandemic.

Methods

A cross-sectional survey was conducted among all 401 community nurses employed by the Hospital Authority in Hong Kong when the WHO pandemic alert level was 6.

Results

The response rate of this study was 66.6%. 76.9% participants reported being "not willing" (33.3%) or "not sure" (43.6%) to take care of patients during H1N1 influenza pandemic. The self-reported reasons for being unwilling to report to duty during H1N1 influenza pandemic were psychological stress (55.0%) and fear of being infected H1N1 influenza (29.2%). The reported unwillingness to report to duty was marginally significantly associated with the request for further training of using infection control clinical guideline (OR: 0.057; CI: 0.25-1.02). Those who reported unwillingness or not being sure about taking care of the patients during H1N1 influenza pandemic were more depressed (p < 0.001) and found work more emotionally stressful (p < 0.001).

Conclusions

Interventions to provide infection control training and address community nurses' psychological needs might increase their willingness to provide care to patients in the community during H1N1 influenza pandemic. This would help to ensure an effective and appropriate health system response during the H1N1 influenza pandemic.