Ready, aye ready? Support mechanisms for healthcare workers in emergency planning: A critical gap analysis of three hospital emergency plans.
Background: In response to the 2003 global outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARSJ, and the threat of pandemic influenza, Canadian hospitals have been actively developing and revising their emergency plans. Healthcare workers are a particularly vulnerable group at risk of occupational exposure during infectious disease outbreaks, as seen during SARS and as documented / reported in the recent National Survey of the Work and Health of Nurses (Statistics Canada, 2006). Approximately one third of Canadian nurses identified job strain and poor health, related to their work environment. Three years after SARS, this article presents a critical analysis of the gaps of three hospital pandemic influenza plans in the context of established organizational supports for healthcare workers.