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Nurses’ willingness and readiness to report for duty in a disaster

Olivia Wai Man Fung, DHSc, MPH, BN, RN, Alice Yuen Loke, PhD, MN, BSN, RN


Inadequate healthcare workforce during a disaster affects the survival and health outcome of victims. During disaster strikes, nurses may face a dilemma regarding whether or not to report for duty, facing professional duty and their personal and/or family safety that may be at stake. This is a cross-sectional descriptive study. This study seeks for a better understanding of the factors affecting nurses’ willingness and readiness to report for duty in a disaster. A total of 269 currently practicing registered nurses completed the questionnaire. Results showed that only 68.7 percent and 53.2 percent of nurses were willing to report to work during a disaster. Male nurses were more likely to report to work than females during disaster (p = 0.007) and infection outbreak (p = 0.002) situations. Nurses with young children were less likely to report to work during an infectious disease outbreak (34.5 percent vs 55.4 percent, p = 0.033). It is concluded that about one-third of nurses indicated that they would not report to work when a disaster strikes. This raises a warning signal for healthcare managers that they need to plan ahead to maintain an adequate workforce when disasters strike. Managers are urged to do more to understand the factors leading to nurses’ unwillingness to report to work and to undertake realistic staffing planning to cope with the extra demand.


disaster nursing management, readiness to work, willingness to report for duty, Hong Kong nurses, workforce management

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