A Cross-Sectional Examination of the Factors Related to Emergency Nurses' Motivation to Protect Themselves Against an Ebola Infection

J Emerg Nurs. 2020 Nov;46(6):814-826. doi: 10.1016/j.jen.2020.05.002. Epub 2020 May 6.


Introduction: The 2014-2016 West African Ebola outbreak impacted the United States. Owing to the sporadic occurrence of the Ebola infection, there is insufficient research regarding how US emergency nurses provide care to patients potentially infected with the Ebola virus and the nurses' motivation to protect themselves when providing care to these patients. This study aimed to investigate the predictors of emergency nurses' protection motivation.

Methods: A cross-sectional design was employed. A survey developed based on a modified Protection Motivation Theory was administered to randomly selected members of the Emergency Nurses Association. Descriptive statistics, nonparametric Kruskal-Wallis H test (as well as post hoc Dunn-Bonferroni test), Spearman rho correlation, and stepwise multiple linear regression were conducted for data analysis.

Results: Protection motivation was found in 2 components: proactive and passive protection motivation. Regression analysis indicated that response efficacy (β = 0.27, P < 0.001) and self-efficacy (β = 0.17, P < 0.01) significantly predict emergency nurses' proactive protection motivation, whereas perceived vulnerability (β = 0.26, P < 0.001), response cost (β = 0.19, P = 0.001), and knowledge (β = -0.15, P < 0.01) significantly predict emergency nurses' passive protection motivation.

Discussion: The results indicate the need for interventions to improve emergency nurses' response efficacy, self-efficacy, and knowledge, while simultaneously reducing the nurses' perceived vulnerability and response cost. Such interventions would be expected to proactively motivate nurses to protect themselves when providing care to patients who exhibit the signs and symptoms of an Ebola infection and reduce their passive protection motivation.

Keywords: Ebola virus infection; Emergency nurses; Protection motivation theory; Response efficacy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emergency Nursing*
  • Female
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • United States