The 5 Risks of Working in Healthcare That No One Told You About

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

     It takes a special kind of person to work in the healthcare industry. You’ve got to have passion, determination, and an unbelievably high tolerance for stress. Even if you have all of these characteristics, it’s still an incredibly tough field.

     Before you decide that you want to pursue the life of a healthcare professional, you need to know what you’re getting yourself into. Take the time to read the following five risks of working in the healthcare industry, and then decide if it’s the right decision for you.

The 5 Risks of Working in Healthcare That No One Told You About
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1. You Face a Much Higher Chance of Being Assaulted

     In an environment where lives are on the line, and you have to be the one to break some devastating news to a patient and their family, some people just can’t keep it together. Sometimes that results in being attacked either verbally or physically. 

     The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that three out of four nurses have been the victim of verbal or physical abuse by their patients at some point in their career. They also found that 40% of all healthcare positions have experienced either physical violence or the threat of it.

     To put that in perspective, the Beauru of Justice Statistics reported that only 1.98% of the total population of the U.S. will become the victim of a violent crime in their lifetime.


2. You Face a Higher Likelihood of Committing Suicide

     When you’re surrounded by disease, death, and despair at any given point in the day, it can drive even the most resolute person to despair. According to a study from 2016 by the Center for Disease Control, there are 19 suicides for every 100,000 health care professionals, 23% higher than the national average.

     Before you commit to a career as a healthcare professional, really take a look at yourself in the mirror. If you’re someone who gets depressed easily, especially in high-stress settings, you’re only going to make yourself miserable by going into healthcare.


3. You Face a Higher Chance of Contracting a Terminal Disease

     Because healthcare professionals are constantly being exposed to bodily fluids, including blood, vomit, urine, semen, feces, and vaginal fluid, they stand a much higher chance of being infected with a terminal disease. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA), some of the most dangerous diseases healthcare professionals face include:

  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  • Hepatitis B Virus (HBV)
  • Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)

Common Causes of Infection

     The OHSA report also indicated that the two most common causes of infection are from accidental needle sticks (more than 385,000 every year) and splashes of bodily fluids into the eyes, mouth, and open wounds. If a healthcare professional contracts one of these diseases, it can often signal the end of their medical career.

     If you choose to go into healthcare, follow the prescribed safety precautions to avoid contracting these diseases. Always wear clean protective clothing and wash your hands regularly. That will improve your safety, but nothing is foolproof. You still need to take the necessary precautions to cover yourself if you become unable to work.

4. A Higher Risk of Disease from Smoke Plume Inhalation

     In addition to diseases from patients, healthcare professionals who perform surgery often carry a high risk of illness from smoke plumes. Smoke plumes are the result of surgical equipment that produces extreme heat and burning, such as lasers, surgical utensils, and ultrasonic tools. 

     This smoke often carries harmful bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus subtilis, which can cause allergic reactions, headaches, and extreme nausea. A study by Dr. Patrick McCormick, MD, found that these smoke plumes carry about 27 to 30 times the toxic content of one cigarette, and can linger in an operating room for up to 20 minutes after a procedure is complete.

     If you’re planning to specialize in surgical procedures, understand the risk you’re exposing yourself to from smoke plumes and how to protect yourself. If you smoke either traditional or e-cigarettes, you should also consider quitting. You’d be doubling your risk if you don’t.

5. You Face a Higher Likelihood of Job Dissatisfaction

     No matter how much you may love your job, everyone can get burnt out. Medical professionals face a much higher chance of becoming fed up with their workplace, primarily due to long hours and high stress. The longer the average shift, the more likely it is that you’ll become dissatisfied and quit.

     A study published by Health Affairs in 2012 reported that nurses who have a regular shift of 10 hours or longer were 2.5 times more likely to list job dissatisfaction as their number one complaint, and ultimately quit. They reported that this was because they felt continuously exhausted, had no time to take care of personal issues, and had increasing relationship stresses with their spouses and children.

It’s Not Just Workers Suffering

     Aside from higher risk to you, longer shifts pose a higher risk to your patients as well. Patient surveys found that in cases of primary care nurses who worked a 13-hour shift or longer, overall patient satisfaction declined dramatically.

     If you’re going into healthcare, understand that you will have long hours, you will need a strong relationship with your spouse, and you have to be resolute in your commitment to your patients. You absolutely cannot let a long shift be the reason you stop giving your patients the best care possible.

1 comment

  1. Divine Labbuanan-CabralJanuary 25, 2019 at 12:21 PM

    Thank you so much mommy sa mga tips!!!

    ReplyDelete

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