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
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has raged across the world. The dramatically increasing numbers of infected cases consequently caused a heavy burden on medical staff worldwide. With the intent of helping ease the burden of medical systems, some medical students have been willing to volunteer in the pandemic but there is little systematic evidence to show that among Chinese medical students.
As medical students will emerge as the practitioners during future outbreaks and pandemics, it is essential to determine the profile of incentivizing factors for such volunteer work today. This knowledge will also help to construct strategies that will improve their enthusiasm for volunteerism.
A total of 552 medical students at Peking Union Medical College responded to the study questionnaire.
This study was online-based and conducted through a questionnaire that explored students’ 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 medical students to volunteer in a pandemic.
Chinese medical students expressed a strong initiative to aid in COVID-19 by means of taking on direct, indirect, or administrative responsibilities. There were two negative influencing factors, namely, student-class and hazards associated with the voluntary job, which suggested that reducing students’ fear of being infected and offering sufficient personal protection could help improve volunteerism in a pandemic. In terms of future career preference, nearly half of the students expressed reluctance to engage in pandemic-related specialties, which could imply more measures to attract potential practitioners in the future.
Most Chinese medical students take initiatives to learn about COVID-19 and are glad to volunteer in a pandemic. However, hazards associated with the voluntary job can likely damp down students’ enthusiasm for volunteerism, which means more innovative methods, such as Internet platforms, sufficient personal protection, specialized knowledge, and full training in advance, can be explored.
Multi-center studies are needed, taking racial, geographic distribution, educational background, parental background, income and academic performance, etc. into consideration. In addition, more standard assessment questionnaires should be made and enacted to evaluate students’ comprehensive understanding of COVID-19, in order to reduce the bias of different surveys conducted in different regions.