50%+ of hospital trainees work while experiencing flu-like illness

Working while sick with influenza-like illness may be common in training programs at hospitals, according to a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

Researchers conducted the study at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. They polled internal medicine and subspecialty house staff and program directors via an anonymous electronic survey between April 23 and June 15, 2018. Forty-nine percent of 200 house staff members and 59 percent of 39 program directors participated in the survey.

Researchers found:

• Fifty-four percent of trainees and 26 percent of program leaders reported working while sick with flu-like illness in the past year.
• More than 90 percent of trainees and program leaders reported that working while sick with flu-like illness places others at risk.
• However, only 9 percent of program leaders accurately estimated the prevalence of trainees working while sick.

Both trainees and program directors cited "not wanting to burden colleagues" as the top reason for working while sick with flu-like illness. Additionally, most trainees did not correctly answer flu knowledge questions.

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