Understanding the Motivation of Nurses Volunteering for non-disaster Humanitarian Service
Early Online Version
Collegian: The Australian Journal of Nursing Practice, Scholarship and Research
ANZSRC / FoR Code
Avondale Research Centre
Lifestyle Medicine and Health Research Centre
Reportable Items (HERDC/ERA)
Background: Nurses who volunteer in a nondisaster humanitarian surgical mission receive little attention in the research literature.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore how nurses involved in short-term nondisaster humanitarian care perceived and managed their experiences of working in a volunteer nursing capacity in a low- to middle-income country.
Method: An immersive ethnographic method was used. Participants comprised 150 international registered nurses from 12 countries. Data collection incorporated 49 semistructured interviews and reflections on 1,500 hours of participant observation. Data were analysed using a thematic, inductive approach, following the consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative research guidelines.
Results: The results of this qualitative enquiry revealed essential aspects of the nursing culture within a specific humanitarian nursing context—that is, promoting social justice and addressing health disparity through the delivery of compassionate surgical care. This paper presents data describing nurses’ motivations for participating as volunteers in humanitarian work.
Discussion: Nurses are more likely to offer increased effort and enthusiasm when there is congruency between their beliefs, their professional identity, and their ability to enact on these. Understanding humanitarian nurses’ motivations gives guidance to leaders involved in managing, attracting, and retaining suitable nursing staff and orienting, debriefing, and supporting re-entry after withdrawing from short- term medical assignments that share a common imperative to care for the underserved.
Link to publisher version (DOI)
Dawson, S., Jackson, D., & Elliott, D. (in press). Understanding the motivation of nurses volunteering for non-disaster humanitarian service. Collegian: The Australian Journal of Nursing Practice, Scholarship and Research, 28(6), 645-651. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.colegn.2021.06.003