234653 Predictor's of nurses' ability and willingness to work during the 2009 A/H1N1 pandemic

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sharon Martin, PhD, MSN, RN , Nursing, Saint Joseph's College, Standish, ME
Background: Studies of health care worker unwillingness or inability to work during emergencies have been reported but none has focused on nurses during a flu pandemic. Objective: This study reports variables affecting nurses' ability and willingness to work during the 2009 A/H1N1 flu pandemic. Methods: A survey was mailed to a random sample of 1,200 Maine nurses during the second wave of the A/H1N1 flu pandemic, October through November 2009. Initial willingness to work was measured then tracked as situational variables were presented. Results: Of the 735 (61.3%) returns most (90.1%) initially reported intention to work (positive responders). Thereafter, only personal protective equipment (PPE) increased willingness to work and many variables decreased ability or willingness to work. Positive responders were more likely to work with gown, gloves and N-95 mask (P < .001) or with gloves and N-95 mask but no gown (P = .022) but less likely with inadequate PPE (no gloves, N-95 mask, or no PPE at all). Those indicating initial intention not to work (negative responders) were less likely when assigned flu patients for care (P < .001), colleagues were quarantined (P = .036) or had died of flu (P = .009), they feared family might die of flu (P = .037), they were sick for any reason (P = .033), children or elders needed care at home (P = .008), antiviral medication and vaccine were provided for nurse and family (P = .034), double pay was offered (P < .001) or free room and board was provided to avoid bringing the virus home (P = .004). No variables increased the likelihood of negative responders to work. Conclusions: To retain the nursing workforce employers should focus on positive responders providing adequate PPE and decreasing risk to families. Negative responders are unlikely to work even with incentives.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership

Learning Objectives:
Identify factors resulting in decreased ability and willingness of nurses' to work during the 2009 A/H1N1 influenza pandemic.

Keywords: Workforce, Nurses

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have numerous publications in national and international journals, many national presentations, and have served as expert panelist for the CDC, AMA, and AHRQ on the topic of avian and pandemic flu. I recently completed original research on nurses' ability and willingness to work during the 2009 A/H1N1 flu pandemic.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.