Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Concerned, yet committed: A tertiary hospital healthcare workers’ concerns and readiness in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic

Jeevan Raaj Thangayah, MMed (EM), MRCEM, Aliviya Dutta, PGFEM, MRCEM, R. Ponampalam, FRCS (A&E), FAMS, GDOM


Background: Healthcare workers (HCWs) are a vital resource in every society. The concerns of HCWs during pandemics are unique as they have to consider multiple issues including their health as well as the risks to their loved ones. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic provides no exception in testing HCWs’ readiness.

Purpose: We aim to study the concerns and preparedness of HCWs at Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a tertiary healthcare institution, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of interest were the differences between HCWs from the emergency department (ED) compared to other non-ED locations.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out in the form of a voluntary survey containing 34 questions. All data were anonymous. Chi-square analysis and Bonferroni correction were carried out to ascertain the significance of the associations between the two groups.

Results: A total of 1249 responses were received. Of all respondents, 57 percent felt that their jobs put them at great risk of exposure to COVID-19 while 67 percent accepted the risk as part of their job and 60 percent were still afraid of falling ill. Among the respondents, 78 percent responded that they would not look for another job while almost half considered it acceptable if their colleagues resigned. There were significant differences between ED and non-ED staff in terms of feeling that not only they but also those close to them were at high risk of exposure to the disease, people avoiding them and their families due to their job and ED staff feeling that there would be increased workload but inadequate manpower to handle the demands.

Conclusion: Despite previous experience with pandemics, this study highlights that there still are issues faced by HCWs that need to be addressed in order for them to function effectively. Although there are differences between ED and non-ED HCWs’ concerns, all HCWs need to be recognized as crucial stakeholders and due attention should be given to them.


COVID-19, emergency department, infectious diseases, staff support, psychology

Full Text:



Barnett DJ, Balicer RD, Thompson CB, et al.: Assessment of local public health workers’ willingness to respond to pandemic influenza through application of the extended parallel process model. PLoS One. 2009; 4(7): e6365. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0006365. PMID: 19629188; PMCID: PMC2711331.

Balicer RD, Barnett DJ, Thompson CB, et al.: Characterizing hospital workers’ willingness to report to duty in an influenza pandemic through threat- and efficacy-based assessment. BMC Public Health. 2010; 10: 436. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-10-436. PMID: 20659340; PMCID: PMC2918559.

Wong TY, Koh GC, Cheong SK, et al.: Concerns, perceived impact and preparedness in an avian influenza pandemic—A comparative study between healthcare workers in primary and tertiary care. Ann Acad Med Singap. 2008; 37(2): 96.

Cheong SK, Wong TY, Lee HY, et al.: Concerns and preparedness for an avian influenza pandemic: A comparison between community hospital and tertiary hospital healthcare workers. Ind Health. 2007; 45: 653-661. DOI:10.2486/indhealth.45.653.

Koh D, Lim MK, Chia SE, et al.: Risk perception and impact of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) on work and personal lives of healthcare workers in Singapore: What can we learn? Med Care. 2005; 43(7): 676-682. DOI:10.1097/ PMID: 15970782.

Chaudhary FA, Ahmad B, Ahmad P, et al.: Concerns, perceived impact, and preparedness of oral healthcare workers in their working environment during COVID-19 pandemic. J Occup Health. 2020; 62(1): e12168. DOI:10.1002/1348-9585.12168.

Galletta M, Piras I, Finco G, et al.: Worries, preparedness, and perceived impact of COVID-19 pandemic on nurses’ mental health. Front Public Health. 2021; 9: 566700. DOI:10.3389/fpubh.2021.566700. PMID: 34123979; PMCID: PMC8187773.

Norful AA, Rosenfeld A, Schroeder K, et al.: Primary drivers and psychological manifestations of stress in frontline healthcare workforce during the initial COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2021; 69: 20-26. DOI:10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2021.01.001. Epub January 10, 2021. PMID: 33485091; PMCID: PMC7836752.

Shaw KA, Chilcott A, Hansen E, et al.: The GP’s response to pandemic influenza: A qualitative study. Fam Pract. 2006; 23: 267-272. DOI:10.1093/fampra/cml014.

Hogg W, Huston P, Martin C, et al.: Enhancing public health response to respiratory epidemics: Are family physicians ready and willing to help? Can Fam Physician. 2006; 52: 1254-1260.

Ehrenstein BP, Hanses F, Salzberger B: Influenza pandemic and professional duty: Family or patients first? A survey of hospital employees. BMC Public Health. 2006; 6: 311. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-6-311.

Sahashi Y, Endo H, Sugimoto T, et al.: Worries and concerns among healthcare workers during the coronavirus 2019 pandemic: A web-based cross-sectional survey. Humanit Soc Sci Commun. 20121; 8: 41. DOI:10.1057/s41599-021-00716-x.

Qureshi K, Gershon RRM, Sherman MF, et al.: Health care workers’ ability and willingness to report to duty during catastrophic disasters. J Urban Health. 2005; 82(3): 378-388. DOI:10.1093/jurban/jti086.

Balicer RD, Omer SB, Barnett DJ, et al.: Local public health workers’ perceptions toward responding to an influenza pandemic. BMC Public Health. 2006; 6: 99. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-6-99.

Shiao JS, Koh D, Lo LH, et al.: Factors predicting nurses’ consideration of leaving their job during the SARS outbreak. Nurs Ethics. 2007; 14(1): 5-17. DOI:10.1177/0969733007071350. PMID: 17334166.

Goh KT, Cutter J, Heng BH: Epidemiology and control of SARS in Singapore. Ann Acad Med Singap. 2006; 35: 301.

Allen Yu-Hung LAI, Seck L Tan: Impact of Disasters and Disaster Risk Management in Singapore: A Case Study of Singapore’s Experience in Fighting the SARS Epidemic. Working Papers DP-2013-14. Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), 2013.

Barnett DJ, Balicer RD, Blodgett DW, et al.: Applying risk perception theory to public health workforce preparedness training. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2005; 11 (6 Suppl): S33-S37. DOI:10.1097/00124784-200511001-00006.

Thangayah JR, Kiat KTB, Han LS: COVID-19 in Singapore: Our experience as a country, and at Singapore General Hospital’s Department of Emergency Medicine. J Acute Med. 2021; 11(1): 1-11. DOI:10.6705/j.jacme.202103_11(1).0001. PMID: 33928010; PMCID: PMC8075969.

Sokol DK: Virulent epidemics and scope of healthcare workers’ duty of care. Emerg Infect Dis. 2006; 12(8): 1238-41. DOI:10.3201/eid1208.060360. PMID: 16965703; PMCID: PMC3291234.

Obrien N, Flott K, Durkin M: COVID-19: leadership on the frontline is what matters when we support healthcare workers. Int J Qual Health Care. 2021 Feb 20;33(1):mzaa153. DOI:10.1093/intqhc/mzaa153. PMID: 33227137; PMCID: PMC7717247.

Ranney ML, Griffeth V, Jha AK: Critical supply shortages—The need for ventilators and personal protective equipment during the Covid-19 pandemic. N Engl J Med. 2020; 382: e41. DOI:10.1056/NEJMp2006141.

World Health Organization (WHO): Attacks on Health Care in the Context of COVID-19. 2020a. Available at Accessed June 10, 2021.

Available at Accessed June 10, 2021.

Available at Accessed June 10, 2021.

Aoyagi Y, Beck CR, Dingwall R, et al.: Healthcare workers’ willingness to work during an influenza pandemic: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Influenza Other Respir Viruses. 2015; 9(3): 120-30. DOI:10.1111/irv.12310. PMID: 25807865; PMCID: PMC4415696.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2022 Journal of Emergency Management