Variables Associated with the Response of Health Care Professionals to a Public Health Event (PHE)
Repository Posting Date2012-01-11T10:43:44Z
Author(s)Connor, B. Susan
Author DetailsB. Susan Connor, BSN, MSN, RN
(41st Biennial Convention) Whether or not healthcare professionals respond to a public health event (PHE) is a vital concern for a community. Although response rates, abilities and willingness to respond have been the focus of numerous research studies, little is known about how disaster response education is related to healthcare professionals' attitudes, beliefs and intent to respond to a PHE. Aim: We examined relationships among healthcare professionals' characteristics, preparedness education, and their intent to respond to a future PHE. Methods: We developed a theory of planned behavior (TPB)-based survey and pilot tested it. Then, a cross-sectional design, with one wave of data collection, was used to administer the survey, in web-based format, to 288 registered nurses, physicians, dentists, and pharmacists who worked in various hospital settings in the United States. Results: Professional groups differed significantly in referent beliefs, subjective norm, perceived behavioral control and intention. Participants who were members of a PHE response team had significantly higher control beliefs scores than those who were not. Health care professionals who had responded previously to a PHE had significantly higher control beliefs, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control scores than those who did not have PHE experience. Additionally, those with PHE experience rated field exercises as the most helpful educational modality in preparing them for their PHE experience. Those who did not have PHE experience indicated that face-to-face classes without a simulated exercise and on-line courses that included simulation were also effective in preparing them for a future PHE. Discussion: These results provide some new information about the psychological (perceived ability/capability) and the psychosocial (perceived support) factors that could affect the intention of healthcare professionals to respond to a future PHE. These findings have implications for PHE preparedness course objectives, learning activities and assessment strategies.