Assessing public health department employees' willingness to report to work during an influenza pandemic

Nicole E. Basta, Sharlene E. Edwards, Joann Schulte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: During an influenza pandemic, public health employees will play a significant role in implementing community response and control protocols. We aimed to determine how informed health department employees are about pandemic response and how willing they are to report to work during a pandemic. Methods: We conducted an anonymous, electronic survey of 4 746 Florida county health department employees to assess willingness to respond. Results: Among the 2 414 respondents, willingness to report to work varied by the stage of the influenza pandemic and type of job duties, from 92.3 percent willingness given the lowest-risk scenario to 56.2 percent under the highest-risk scenario. Nurses and employees who had read one of the pandemic influenza plans were significantly more likely to be willing to respond. Conclusions: Nearly half of public health department employees are unwilling to report to work during the peak of an influenza pandemic when the public health response will be a vital component of pandemic containment and mitigation. In light of the current worldwide spread of novel influenza A (H1N1), there is an urgent need to better inform public health workers about their roles in pandemic response and to ensure that personal safety is a top priority.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-383
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Public Health Management and Practice
Volume15
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2009

Keywords

  • Disaster response
  • Disease outbreak
  • Pandemic influenza
  • Public health practice
  • Public health workforce

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