Healthcare workers' duty concerns of working in the isolation ward during the novel H1N1 pandemic

J Clin Nurs. 2012 May;21(9-10):1466-75. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2011.03783.x. Epub 2011 Jul 21.


Aims and objectives: The aim was to explore healthcare workers' duty concerns in the isolation wards during the novel H1N1 pandemic.

Background: Healthcare workers' willingness to work is a concern worldwide since SARS; Concerns related to work in the isolation wards among healthcare workers' who continue to work during the novel H1N1 pandemic is unknown. In the light of possible staff shortages, healthcare workers' duty concern is very important for planning the retention strategies.

Method: The qualitative study with individual interview of 10 healthcare workers (four physicians, three nurses and three healthcare assistances) working in isolation wards were conducted in mid June 2009 where pandemic alert level 6 was raised by WHO. Interviews were audio-taped, transcribed verbatim and then analysed using a thematic analysis approach.

Results: All participants who were still working in the isolation wards during the novel H1N1 pandemic showed professional senses that were strongly related to the willingness to work. Their concerns in their duty including appreciation from the employers, efficacy and side effects of vaccination, frequent policy changes, unclear criteria of case management, poor facility layout, duty role stress were highlighted.

Conclusions: Further research should seek to provide in-depth specific concerns in each type of healthcare workers which is very important to keep adequate healthcare workers fighting against the infectious disease pandemic. Interesting results on the negative view towards the swine flu vaccination demonstrate more detailed evidence-based information about the vaccination is needed.

Relevance to clinical practice: It is important for mangers to provide a support to healthcare workers during influenza pandemic by providing a clear guideline/policy for case management and demonstrating appreciation for the frontline healthcare workers to minimise the risk for high staff turnover rates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Health Personnel*
  • Humans
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype / isolation & purification*
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology*
  • Influenza, Human / virology