Understanding Factors Contributing to Nurses’ Intention to Care for COVID-19 Patients Using the Theory of Planned Behavior


Background: Globally, the nursing community has lost several colleagues during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) battle. One of the negative consequences of the disease is the pressure on healthcare services and demands that exceed the system's capacity to provide sufficient resources. Similarly, the experiences of care providers might trigger emotional and physical stress, which could affect the healthcare system's readiness to manage infectious outbreaks. This study was aimed at investigating nurses’ intention to care for COVID-19 patients and determining factors contributing to their intentions to care at the Ministry of Health facilities in Saudi Arabia.

Methods: This descriptive cross-sectional survey design was used to recruit 336 nurses working in Al Madinah Ministry of Health hospitals where COVID-19 patients received medical and nursing care. The instrument was created following the framework of the Theory of Planned Behavior.

Results: Nurses’ intention to care for COVID-19 patients was significantly correlated with their education level, nationality, knowledge about COVID-19, and nurses’ exposure during their earlier education for emerging infectious diseases. Factors related to social pressure from friends, colleagues, and workplace administration support needed improvement.  Examining the model fits through multiple regression revealed that the combination of six subscales – “attitude, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control, behavioral beliefs, normative beliefs, and control beliefs” – accounted for a significant (89%) variability of intention to care, R2 = 0.892, adjusted R2 = 0.793, F (6-329) = 201, p ≤ 0.000.

Conclusion: Providing nursing education is the main predictor of higher nurses' intention to care for COVID-19 patients, it is imperative that nursing education courses should continue investing in enhancing nurses' capabilities in caring for COVID-19 patients.


nurses, intention, COVID-19, Saudi Arabia

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