Willingness of University Nursing Students to Volunteer During a Pandemic


Olive Yonge, 3rd Floor Clinical Sciences Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2G3. E-mail: olive.yonge@ualberta.ca


ABSTRACT Objective: The global threat of an influenza pandemic continues to grow and thus universities have begun emergency preparedness planning. This study examined stakeholder's knowledge, risk-perception, and willingness to volunteer.

Design and Sample: The design of this study is a cross-sectional survey. Questionnaires were sent to 1,512 nursing students and were returned by 484, yielding a response rate of 32% for this subgroup. Nursing students may be a much-needed human resource in the event of an influenza pandemic.

Measures: The measurement tool was a Web-based questionnaire regarding pandemic influenza designed by a subgroup of researchers on the Public Health Response Committee.

Results: Most nursing students (67.9%) said they were likely to volunteer in the event of a pandemic if they were able to do so. An even higher number (77.4%) said they would volunteer if provided protective garments. Overall, 70.7% of students supported the proposition that nursing students have a professional obligation to volunteer during a pandemic. Nursing students indicated that they have had a wealth of volunteer experience in the past and they would apply this service ethic to a pandemic situation.

Conclusions: Emergency preparedness competencies should be integrated into existing nursing curricula and other health science programs. University administrations need to engage in planning to create protocol for recruitment, practice, and protection of volunteers.