5 reasons why healthcare providers come to work sick

Female nurse looking stressed
The number of healthcare workers who come to work sick is a serious problem. (Getty/gpointstudio)

They may know better, but many healthcare providers still decide to come to work when they are sick.

In an NEJM Journal Watch blog post, Paul E. Sax, M.D., takes a look at a study that listed the five reasons healthcare workers gave for showing up when they are sick, even though they might infect patients and co-workers:

  • They can still perform their duties.
  • They feel an obligation to co-workers.
  • They don’t feel bad enough to miss work.
  • They don’t think they are contagious.
  • They feel a professional obligation to see their patients.

"That’s a lot of sniffling, coughing and potentially mask-wearing healthcare providers out there," Sax writes.

Free Daily Newsletter

Like this story? Subscribe to FierceHealthcare!

The healthcare sector remains in flux as policy, regulation, technology and trends shape the market. FierceHealthcare subscribers rely on our suite of newsletters as their must-read source for the latest news, analysis and data impacting their world. Sign up today to get healthcare news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.

Healthcare workers who come to work sick are a serious problem within the industry. One study last year found that the issue is particularly acute among part-time workers without paid sick leave, since they risk the loss of income when they call out sick.

Another study concluded that it will take an institution-wide approach to stop the practice and encourage clinicians to stay home when they are sick. Hospitals and healthcare institutions can help prevent the problem by having backup staffing measures in place so that sick workers can stay home without fear of compromising patient care.

Suggested Articles

Keeping up with maintenance on directories costs providers nearly $1,000 a month, a survey finds.

Aleksandr Pikus, 44, of Brooklyn, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and two counts of money laundering.

It’s a good time to sell a physician practice, but a lot hinges on the practice specialty, according to one healthcare investment banker.