A new survey suggests that many doctors work while being sick, and even though they know this kind of behavior can have negative results, they are sometimes compelled to act incautiously.
If an MD gets sick, in most cases he or she is compelled to continue working despite the risk of infecting others. Many doctors have full schedules and appointment books all year round so taking a sick day would push back the patient treatment programs by too much.
Nurses, midwives and assistants also find themselves in this situation, as trained staff is not always easy to replace, and their work gravely requires a solid team chemistry and personal knowledge of how the treatment facility system works.
A recent survey posted in the journal JAMA Pediatrics by Julia E. Szymczak and other specialists, has analyzed information collect from 536 interviews of doctors and clinicians at the Philadelphia Children’s Hospital .
While the overwhelming majority of specialists , assistants and doctors agreed that working while sick represents a danger to the patients, a large majority said that they have shown up to work at least once in the past year with symptoms like fever and stomach aches.
The very large number of healthcare professionals who have “broken” their own rules and worked while sick, is 83 %, which in itself could suggest that the main reasons for such behavior are not connected with personal decisions but rather professional concern.
The study also stated that around 9 percent of the interviewed specialists claimed they had worked more than 5 times in the last year while suffering from different forms of sickness.
There are several reasons for the strain on doctors schedules, one being the lack of available substitutes and also a strong socially imposed pattern of working unless gravely ill instituted among healthcare workers.
But several of the main issues could be solved by the successful training of more specialists, especially if encouraged on a local level by communities who are aware they suffer from the lack of MD’s and specialists.
More support programs and scholarships targeted at healthcare professions could help healthcare workers find colleagues and replacements faster and in a more consistent and reliable manner.
However this type of community support for medical students works acceptably only in socialized medicine, where funds and budgets can be diverted to such programs faster and more easily. Private medicine could apply a more effective system to handle the basic supply and demand chain for healthcare workers, but it would require some starting financial efforts.
Until a reliable solution is found , doctors might continue to be unwillingly working while sick, with doctors being especially effected by their overwhelming schedules.
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