Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Presenteeism- When Sick Healthcare Workers go to Work

Source: NY Times
I am currently in Snowmass, Colorado at the 38th  Winter Course, giving several lectures, and, more importantly, listening and learning a lot from my peers. There was a fine presentation yesterday  by Dr. Dan Diekema from the University of Iowa, on managing hospital exposures to infectious agents such as pertussis, TB, varicella (Chicken pox) and tuberculosis. 

A topic raised during the presentation was "presenteeism'', or rather, healthcare workers coming to work while ill. I  refer you to this manuscript on presenteeism in the healthcare setting and its impact on infection prevention.

Despite prescribing 'sick leave' for their patients, when similarly ill, many physicians will still work.The motivation may be to serve their patients, but in doing so, they neither serve the patients nor themselves. To boot, ill healthcare workers serve as disease vectors to others in the workplace. 

Sick healthcare personnel in the workplace are a public health hazard. If you are ill, stay home, especially if you provide direct patient care.

Back to the Remington Course......


  1. The hospital where I work now considers calling in sick a violation of its staff attendance policy that can lead to termination.

  2. This is a misguided and dangerous policy.