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Willingness and Self-Perceived Competence of Final-Year Medical Students to Work as Part of the Healthcare Workforce During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Authors AlSaif HI, AlDhayan AZ, Alosaimi MM, Alanazi AZ, Alamri MN, Alshehri BA, Alosaimi SM

Received 15 July 2020

Accepted for publication 19 August 2020

Published 18 September 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 653—661


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Haytham I AlSaif, 1 Abdullah Z AlDhayan, 2 Majed M Alosaimi, 2 Abdulrahman Z Alanazi, 2 Mohammad N Alamri, 2 Bader A Alshehri, 2 Saif M Alosaimi 2

1Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 2College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence: Haytham I AlSaif
Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, King Saud University, P.O. Box 2925, Ext. 34, Riyadh 11461, Saudi Arabia
Tel +966 565454685

Purpose: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic may increase demand for healthcare professionals (HCPs), either because of a HCP shortage due to illness or because of the need to increase surge capacity. Final-year medical students are one of the resources potentially available to expand the workforce. There is a need to explore the willingness of final-year medical students to meet this demand, examine their perceived competence, and determine how their overall perceived competence correlates with their willingness.
Methods: A cross-sectional study using a self-administered electronic questionnaire was used. The questionnaire included demographic data, students’ self-perceived competence derived from the patient care theme of the Saudi Medical Education Directives (SaudiMED) framework, and their willingness to be measured on a 5-point Likert scale. The study targeted final-year medical students at King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Results: The number of participants was 134 (56.1% response rate), of whom 47 students (34.3%) were willing to work, while 31 (23.1%) were somewhat willing. The mean total self-perceived-competence score was 58.36/88 (66.3%). Demonstration of essential clinical skills had the highest mean score 11.48/16 (71.8%) among learning outcomes. There was a positive moderate correlation between willingness and mean perceived-competence score (Spearman correlation coefficient=0.45, p< 0.001).
Conclusion: Fifty-seven percent of medical students were willing to work as part of the healthcare workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic. Better overall self-perceived competence appeared to correlate with more willingness. Students perceive themselves to be more competent in essential clinical skills. Appropriate training and supervision are suggested in all tasks assigned to them, with additional care required in areas with a lower perceived competence, such as prescription writing and essential clinical procedures.

Keywords: medical education, disaster medicine, health personnel, professional competence

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