Medical reserve corps volunteers' ability and willingness to report to work for the Department of Health during catastrophic disasters
Qureshi, Kristine L.
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Local public health systems must have the capacity to meet the surge requirements of a health emergency that requires an extraordinary increase in activity including the rapid prophylaxis of an effected community. According to recent studies of paid healthcare professionals, approximately forty percent may be unable or unwilling to report to work during catastrophic disasters, but these questions have not yet been asked in the volunteer community. The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is a group of medical volunteers with a primary mission of support to the public health system during periods of surge. This thesis surveyed the members of a county health department MRC to determine their ability and willingness to volunteer in a public health emergency. The survey also elicited information on barriers and enablers to response and perceptions of community preparedness. Both significant differences in the responses of paid versus volunteer health professionals regarding their ability and willingness and striking similarities in their responses regarding barriers and enablers to report to work were identified. Volunteer motivation, cognitive dissonance and the nature of self selected volunteers are examined as they relate to these findings and strategies to strengthen the ability and willingness of MRC units to respond with the public health system are suggested.
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