• Study
  • Published July 2015

Reasons why physicians and advanced practice clinicians work while sick: a mixed-methods analysis.

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Health care workers often work while sick. This phenomenon, known as "presenteeism," has been implicated in outbreaks of health care–associated infections and is associated with burnout. Researchers surveyed physicians and advanced practice clinicians at a children's hospital. This study found that most clinicians reported working while sick, consistent with a prior study of presenteeism among resident physicians. Cultural and system factors resulted in pressure to work while ill, including a sense of not wanting to let colleagues or patients down by being absent and lack of support systems to provide coverage for sick clinicians. The accompanying editorial acknowledges the stigma that clinicians face if they take sick leave and calls for organizations to develop transparent and equitable policies and systems to combat presenteeism.

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