8% of Healthcare Staff Wouldn’t Work During Pandemic Outbreak

DETROIT – A recent survey indicates hospital employees may be hesitant to report to their jobs if an avian influenza pandemic occurs.

The study, conducted by the St. John Hospital and Medical Center, indicates 8 percent of its staff would not report to work during a pandemic. Fifty percent said they would show up, while 42 percent said “maybe.”

Nearly 170 employees answered the questionnaire, and the findings were reported by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine. Thirty four percent of the respondents were doctors, 33 percent were nurses and 33 percent were clerical or other types of employees. Doctors were most likely to respond “yes” (73 percent). Forty four percent of nurses responded “yes,” while 33 percent of others responded in the affirmative. Males were more likely to say “yes” (66 percent). Females were only 42 percent likely to report to work during an outbreak.

For those who said they might go to work, the factor that affected them most was confidence their employer could protect them. The study concluded that workers’ fears of contracting influenza could result in significant absenteeism during a pandemic outbreak. It recommended that pandemic disaster plans address this issue.

The study was conducted by Charlene Irvin, Lauren Cindrich, William Patterson, Angela Ledbetter and Anthony Southall.

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