Journal article
What are the barriers and facilitators of volunteering among healthcare students during the COVID-19 pandemic? A Saudi-based cross-sectional study


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Author list: Reem S. AlOmar, Nouf A. AlShamlan, Naheel A. AlAmer, Fajar Aldulijan, Seereen AlMuhaidib, Omar Almukhadhib, Saad A. Algarni, Askar Alshaibani, Magdy Darwish, and Malak Al Shammari
Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group: BMJ Open / BMJ Journals
Publication year: 2021
Journal name in source: BMJ Open
Volume number: 11
Issue number: 2
Start page: 1
End page: 9
Number of pages: 9
ISSN: 2044-6055
Web of Science ID:
PubMed ID: 33602709
Scopus ID: 85101234877
eISSN: 2044-6055


Objectives The objectives of this study were to assess the volunteering of undergraduate health students and interns in the Ministry of Health (MOH) services in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) during the COVID-19 pandemic, its motivational factors and barriers, as well as their risk perception of COVID-19.

Design A cross-sectional study.

Participants From 12 to 21 May 2020, an online survey was sent to all undergraduate health students and interns in the KSA. This included questions on demographics, volunteering status, risk perception of COVID-19, as well as motivations and barriers towards volunteering.

Results In a convenience sample of 6016 students and interns across KSA, 1824 (30.31%) have volunteered with the MOH services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Volunteering was more likely among older participants, from the College of Medicine, those with self-perceived at risk of COVID-19 infection and those with self-perceived healthy participants. Females, those who did not think that students had moral duties to volunteer, those who were at risk of seasonal influenza and those with self-perceived at risk of hospitalisation from COVID-19 were less likely to volunteer. Patriotism, gaining experience, assisting when able and religious rewards all were reported as major motivators to volunteer. Non-volunteering participants reported that lack of interest, protocol and knowledge, as well as issues related to their personal health and transportation were the main barriers to volunteering.

Conclusions About one-third of undergraduate health students and interns volunteered during the first 2 months of the COVID-19 pandemic in KSA. Moral values were the most important motivations among volunteers. Efforts to encourage heath students and interns to volunteer and providing those with appropriate educational programmes are recommended.


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Last updated on 2021-28-09 at 14:19