A small survey, published online, found that many doctors work when they are sick, despite knowing that this can put their patients at increased risk. Previous studies found that sick health workers are the main source of influenza. Infections may occur when a patient is treated. This can make their illness worse and can increase the cost of the treatments. Babies and people with weak immune system are at biggest risk of getting infected if they are treated by sick doctors.
In order to determine, why sick physicians go to work, when they are sick, researchers from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, polled health workers at their hospitals in a survey. The survey was anonymous. The survey was completed by: 256 advance practice clinicians and 280 attending physicians. 95.3% of health workers from the survey understand that they put patients at higher risk when they work sick. 83.1% said that they have worked sick at least one time in the past year. 9.3% said that they have been working at least 5 times.
Reasons why they work sick are:
1. Don’t want to let their colleagues down (98%)
2. Don’t want to let the patients down (92%)
3. Concerns about staff (94%)
4. They are afraid of being ostracized by their colleagues (64%)
5. They had concerns about care continuity (63%)
Researchers conducted that the main reason, why health workers work when they are sick is because they don’t want to find someone who will cover their work. This means that they go to work, unless they are extremely ill.