Healthcare workers (HCWs) are often assumed to have a duty to work, even if faced with personal risk. This is particularly so for professionals (doctors and nurses). However, the health service also depends on non-professionals, such as porters, cooks and cleaners. The duty to work is currently under scrutiny because of the ongoing challenge of responding to pandemic influenza, where an effective response depends on most uninfected HCWs continuing to work, despite personal risk. This paper reports findings of a survey of HCWs (n = 1032) conducted across three National Health Service trusts in the West Midlands, UK, to establish whether HCWs’ likelihood of working during a pandemic is associated with views about the duty to work. The sense that HCWs felt that they had a duty to work despite personal risk emerged strongly regardless of professional status. Besides a strong sense that everyone should pull together, all kinds of HCWs recognised a duty to work even in difficult circumstances, which correlated strongly with their stated likelihood of working. This suggests that HCWs’ decisions about whether or not they are prepared to work during a pandemic are closely linked to their sense of duty. However, respondents’ sense of the duty to work may conflict with their sense of duty to family, as well as other factors such as a perceived lack of reciprocity from their employers. Interestingly, nearly 25% of doctors did not consider that they had a duty to work where doing so would pose risks to themselves or their families.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.
Funding This research was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) through the Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Programme. This paper represents independent research commissioned by the NIHR. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and Peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Read the full text or download the PDF:
Other content recommended for you
- Psychological impact of repeated epidemic exposure on healthcare workers: findings from an online survey of a healthcare workforce exposed to both SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and COVID-19
- ‘Healthcare Heroes’: problems with media focus on heroism from healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Learning from healthcare workers’ experiences with personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic in Aotearoa/New Zealand: a thematic analysis and framework for future practice
- Frontline healthcare workers’ experiences with personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK: a rapid qualitative appraisal
- Willingness of Hong Kong healthcare workers to accept pre-pandemic influenza vaccination at different WHO alert levels: two questionnaire surveys
- Lived experiences of healthcare workers on the front line during the COVID-19 pandemic: a qualitative interview study
- Socioeconomic, cultural and behavioural features of prior and anticipated influenza vaccine uptake in urban and rural Pune district, India: a mixed-methods case study
- Rapid cycle system improvement for COVID-19 readiness: integrating deliberate practice, psychological safety and vicarious learning
- Experiences and well-being of healthcare professionals working in the field of ultrasound in obstetrics and gynaecology as the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic were evolving: a cross-sectional survey study
- Ten minutes with Dr Hong Fung, CEO, Chinese University of Hong Kong Medical Centre