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Health Care Workers' Ability and Willingness to Report to Work During Public Health Emergencies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 April 2013


Objectives: We conducted a county-wide survey to assess the ability and willingness of health care workers to report to work during a pandemic influenza and a severe earthquake and to identify barriers and strategies that would help them report to work.

Methods: A stratified random sample of 9211 health care workers was selected from the Washington state licensure database and from health care agencies. We assessed correlates between self-reported ability and willingness to report to work and demographic and employer-related variables under two scenarios, influenza pandemic and a severe earthquake.

Results: For the influenza pandemic scenario, 95% of respondents reported that they would be able and 89% reported that they would be willing to report to their usual place of work. Seventy-four percent of respondents reported that they would be able and 88% would be willing to report to their usual place of work following a severe earthquake. The most frequently cited strategies that would help respondents report to work during an influenza pandemic were the availability of anti-viral influenza treatment and the ability to work from home. For persons with children at home, the strategy to increase ability to report to work during an earthquake was the availability of child care.

Conclusions: The majority of the King County health care workforce is willing and able to respond to an influenza pandemic or a severe earthquake.

(Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2011;5:300–308)

Original Research
Copyright © Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc. 2011

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