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Support for mobilising medical students to join the COVID-19 pandemic emergency healthcare workforce: a cross-sectional questionnaire survey
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  • Published on:
    Importance of considering what demotivates medical students joining the healthcare workforce in the event of a pandemic.
    • Oliver J Thomas, Final Year Medical Student King's College London
    • Other Contributors:
      • Edward JS Towning, Final Year Medical Student

    Dear Editor,

    We read with interest the article by Astorp et al. which details the responses from questionnaires given to medical students in Denmark about what would motivate them to join the healthcare workforce in the event of a pandemic [1]. As final-year medical students in the UK (one who joined the NHS workforce as a student volunteer [OT] and one who did not [ET]), we felt that the points highlighted by Astorp et al. did not fully explore the factors affecting students’ decision to join the workforce, based on our own experiences.

    The authors correctly identify their primary focus on the ‘positive’ motivational points as a limitation to their study. It is our opinion that the ‘negative’ points (i.e., what may demotivate students) are perhaps more pertinent. For example, the article mentions that personal safety was a significant concern yet fails to explore the students’ fears for the safety of their friends and family. This was a significant concern for us both and a key consideration in making the decision to volunteer or not. Fears of infecting elderly family members and other vulnerable people were also raised in a similar questionnaire given to medical students in India [2].

    Astorp et al. also mention that in their results that “encouragement from their university was essential” to some students. We agree that encouragement from university, or at least explicit permission, is an important factor to consider. The UK Medical School Council...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.