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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