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Factors Associated with the Willingness of Health Care Personnel to Work During an Influenza Public Health Emergency: An Integrative Review

  • Mahesh Devnani (a1)

The first decade of the 21st century has witnessed three major influenza public health emergencies: (1) the severe acute respiratory syndrome of 2002-2003; (2) the avian flu of 2006; and (3) the 2009 H1N1 pandemic influenza. An effective public health response to an influenza public health emergency depends on the majority of uninfected health care personnel (HCP) continuing to report to work. The purposes of this study were to determine the state of the evidence concerning the willingness of HCP to work during an influenza public health emergency, to identify the gaps for future investigation, and to facilitate evidence-based influenza public health emergency planning.


A systemic literature review of relevant, peer-reviewed, quantitative, English language studies published from January 1, 2001 through June 30, 2010 was conducted. Search strategies included the Cochrane Library, PubMed, PubMed Central, EBSCO Psychological and Behavioral Sciences Collection, Google Scholar, ancestry searching of citations in relevant publications, and information from individuals with a known interest in the topic.


Thirty-two studies met the inclusion criteria. Factors associated with a willingness to work during an influenza public health emergency include: being male, being a doctor or nurse, working in a clinical or emergency department, working full-time, prior influenza education and training, prior experience working during an influenza emergency, the perception of value in response, the belief in duty, the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE), and confidence in one's employer. Factors found to be associated with less willingness were: being female, being in a supportive staff position, working part-time, the peak phase of the influenza emergency, concern for family and loved ones, and personal obligations. Interventions that resulted in the greatest increase in the HCP's willingness to work were preferential access to Tamiflu for the HCP and his/her family, and the provision of a vaccine for the individual and his/her family.


Understanding the factors that contribute to the willingness of HCP to report to work during an influenza public health emergency is critical to emergency planning and preparedness. Information from this review can guide emergency policy makers, planners, and implementers in both understanding and influencing the willingness of HCP to work during an influenza public health emergency.

DevnaniM. Factors Associated with the Willingness of Health Care Personnel to Work During an Influenza Public Health Emergency: An Integrative Review. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2012;27(6):1-16.

Corresponding author
Correspondence: Mahesh Devnani, MHA Department of Health Policy and Management Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Baltimore, MD 21205 USA E-mail
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