Published online Sep 25, 2020. doi: 10.5501/wjv.v9.i3.38
Peer-review started: June 30, 2020
First decision: July 24, 2020
Revised: August 2, 2020
Accepted: August 31, 2020
Article in press: August 31, 2020
Published online: September 25, 2020
The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) happened in early December and it has affected China in more ways than one. The societal response to the pandemic restricted medical students to their homes. Although students cannot learn about COVID-19 through clinical practice, they can still pay attention to news of COVID-19 through various channels. Although, as suggested by previous studies, some medical students have already volunteered to serve during the COVID-19 pandemic, the overall willingness of Chinese medical students to volunteer for such has not been systematically examined.
To study Chinese medical students’ interest in the relevant knowledge on COVID-19 and what roles they want to play in the pandemic.
Medical students at Peking Union Medical College were surveyed via a web-based questionnaire to obtain data on the extent of interest in the relevant knowledge on COVID-19, attitude towards volunteerism in the pandemic, and career preference. Logistic regression modeling was used to investigate possible factors that could encourage volunteerism among this group in a pandemic.
A total of 552 medical students responded. Most medical students showed a huge interest in COVID-19. The extent of students’ interest in COVID-19 varied among different student-classes (P < 0.05). Senior students had higher scores than the other two classes. The number of people who were ‘glad to volunteer’ in COVID-19 represented 85.6% of the respondents. What these students expressed willingness to undertake involved direct, indirect, and administrative job activities. Logistic regression analysis identified two factors that negatively influenced volunteering in the pandemic: Student-class and hazards of the voluntary job. Factors that positively influenced volunteering were time to watch COVID-19 news, predictable impact on China, and moral responsibility.
More innovative methods can be explored to increase Chinese medical students’ interest in reading about the relevant knowledge on COVID-19 and doing voluntary jobs during the pandemic.
Core Tip: Our survey of Chinese medical students showed an overall strong initiative for volunteerism in the coronavirus disease 2019 (known as COVID-19) pandemic. These students were willing to play direct, indirect, or administrative roles. Student-class and hazards of the voluntary job were the negative influencing factors of volunteering in the pandemic; thus, reducing students’ fear of being infected, such as by providing strong personal protection, can improve their willingness to volunteer. As for their future career preference, nearly half of the students expressed reluctance to engage in pandemic-related specialties, which could imply measures needed to attract potential practitioners in the future.