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Healthcare Workers Don't Always Practice What They Preach

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, December 18, 2012

And perhaps not surprisingly, healthcare workers had better access to most types of healthcare than non-healthcare workers. For example, they were 28% less likely to say they did not have a personal physician, 15% less likely to say they had not had a checkup in the past two years, and female respondents were 12% less likely to say they had not had a Pap smear in the past three years.

But they were 76% more likely than non-healthcare workers to report that they unintentionally fell asleep during the day, 22% more likely to say they used smokeless tobacco, and 5% more likely to say they had engaged in HIV risk behaviors in the last year.

But for other categories of life style and health behaviors, healthcare workers and non-healthcare workers were surprisingly about the same, Mukamal says.

Healthcare workers were only slightly more likely to use a seatbelt, and only slightly more likely to get recommended sigmoidoscopy/colonoscopy screening for colon cancer than non-healthcare workers.

Asked if healthcare workers may somehow acquire a sense of immunity to the diseases and conditions they treat as a defense mechanism, Mukamal replied that "that's possible. I generally think that healthcare workers can be blind to their own faults."

Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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