Culture change, physician leadership needed to keep sick health workers home

Although nearly all--95 percent--of certified registered nurse practitioners, physician assistants, clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists and certified nurse midwives participating in a recent survey said they believed working while sick put patients at risk, 83 percent admitted they worked while contagious at least one time in the previous year. The survey published in JAMA Pediatrics also revealed 9 percent of practitioners worked while sick at least five times, with symptoms including diarrhea, fever and respiratory symptoms. It will require a culture change to decrease the stigma associated with healthcare workers' illnesses, write Jeffrey R. Starke, M.D., Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, and Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., Division of Infectious Diseases, Children's Mercy Hospital, University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Medicine, in an accompanying opinion piece. It's necessary for organizations to create a safer and more equitable system of sick leave that factors in workforce demands and patient safety solutions. Strong administrative and physician leadership and creativity also are necessary to support appropriate sick leave and ensure adequate staffing, they write. Read the full article from FierceHealthcare