Aim. The aim of the present study was to examine the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) crisis in relation to the degree of knowledge sharing and professional commitment, as perceived by the current nursing staff in Taiwan. Background. The mortality rate for medical personnel during the SARS outbreak in Taiwan, which began in April 2003, was the highest among Asian countries. The SARS crisis severely challenged not only the medical skills of nurses, but also their professional commitment. Design. Survey. Methods. This study was conducted between August-December 2005, in Taiwan. Data were collected by structured questionnaire. The questionnaire was distributed by post to 8056 nurses nationwide; 2833 nurses completed and returned the questionnaire for a valid response rate of 39%. Results. The results showed that knowledge sharing correlated positively with professional commitment but negatively with the impact of SARS. Professional commitment negatively correlated with SARS impact (r = -0·074, p < 0·001); however, as knowledge sharing was a controlled variable, the partial correlation between SARS impact and professional commitment was -0·039 with a p-value of 0·045, indicating virtual insignificance. That is, knowledge sharing was an antecedent variable for both SARS impact and professional commitment. Conclusion. This cross-sectional study provides preliminary evidence that knowledge sharing is significantly correlated with impact of SARS and professional commitment of nursing personnel. Relevance to clinical practice. Hospitals and healthcare services can enhance retention of medical personnel by encouraging knowledge sharing, which enhances professional commitment and alleviates the impact of newly introduced contagious diseases.
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