Prevention and Control of Occupational Hazards in the Health Care Sector

A special issue of Healthcare (ISSN 2227-9032). This special issue belongs to the section "Health Assessments".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2023) | Viewed by 25249

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Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Μedical Faculty, University of Thessaly, 41222 Larissa, Greece
Interests: epidemiology; occupational health; social determinants of health; medicine
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Health care workers (HCWs) are vital resources for every country, and are exposed to a plethora of occupational hazards. Biological hazards are of central importance for HCWs, and the current COVID-19 pandemic underlines the vulnerability of health care workers and demonstrates the importance of ensuring their health and safety at work. In addition to exposures to biological hazards, HCWs are also exposed to physical (e.g., radiation, vibrations) and chemical hazards (e.g., antineoplastic drugs, formaldehyde, and latex). In addition, occupational exposures to psychosocial hazards (e.g., burnout syndrome, violence) and ergonomic hazards are of importance for health care workers.

Furthermore, the current unfolding COVID-19 pandemic is characterized by the combined exposure of HCWs to biological and psychosocial hazards.

Given this context, a Special Issue of Healthcare entitled “Prevention and control of occupational hazards in the health care sector” is being launched, and we are looking forward to receiving your submissions. You are welcome to send proposals for submissions of feature papers to our Editorial Office for evaluation. 

Dr. George Rachiotis
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • health care workers
  • healthcare
  • occupational hazards
  • physical hazards
  • chemical hazards
  • biological hazards
  • COVID-19
  • psychosocial hazards
  • burnout syndrome
  • violence
  • occupational stress
  • ergonomic hazards
  • vaccine coverage
  • vaccine hesitancy

Related Special Issue

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

15 pages, 569 KiB  
Article
Mindful Self-Compassion as an Antidote to Burnout for Mental Health Practitioners
by T. Richelle Lyon and Anne Galbraith
Healthcare 2023, 11(20), 2715; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11202715 - 12 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1463
Abstract
The objective of this correlational study was to explore the relationship between levels of self-compassion and burnout for currently practicing mental health practitioners (MHPs) in the United States. All professionals are vulnerable to burnout based on various types of organizational stressors, but burnout [...] Read more.
The objective of this correlational study was to explore the relationship between levels of self-compassion and burnout for currently practicing mental health practitioners (MHPs) in the United States. All professionals are vulnerable to burnout based on various types of organizational stressors, but burnout is of particular concern for health care service providers who may need to adopt a stance of detachment, or emotional distance, as relief from intense workloads, with clients. The data were collected through an online survey. Regression analysis found that scores from Neff’s Self-Compassion Scale were a significant negative predictor of levels of MHP burnout, as assessed by Schaufeli et al.’s Burnout Assessment Tool, p < 0.001. The implication of this finding is that cultivating self-compassion appears to be a pragmatic self-care strategy for MHPs to mitigate the negative effects of burnout. More educational and occupational training in self-compassion practices as self-care should be provided to help protect the physical and emotional well-being of MHPs. The deleterious systemic effects of burnout make MHP self-care an ethical issue, along with the need to identify protective factors, prevention, and treatment of burnout. Full article
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12 pages, 278 KiB  
Article
An Exploration of Student Nurses’ Experiences of Burnout during the COVID-19 Pandemic Using the Copenhagen Burnout Inventory (CBI)
by Charlie Cottam, Aimi Dillon and Jon Painter
Healthcare 2023, 11(18), 2576; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11182576 - 18 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1955
Abstract
Burnout amongst healthcare professionals has been a long-considered condition associated with the workplace environment. Student nurses studying at Sheffield Hallam University continued to engage in their training during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the stressors of this experience were anecdotally highlighted to their academic [...] Read more.
Burnout amongst healthcare professionals has been a long-considered condition associated with the workplace environment. Student nurses studying at Sheffield Hallam University continued to engage in their training during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the stressors of this experience were anecdotally highlighted to their academic staff. Furthermore, burnout can be linked to the ongoing difficulties with recruitment and retention of nursing staff within the NHS workforce. This work aimed to determine the burnout among nursing students experience by obtaining quantitative data to understand their experiences. The Copenhagen Burnout Inventory was used to gauge levels of burnout across the different fields of nursing students. Results identified that: (1) mental health students reported feeling tired significantly less often than child and adult field students (mean rating of 69% versus 91.7% and 84.0%, respectively); (2) students aged 30–39 feel tired significantly less often than both younger student age groups (mean rating 59.4% versus 82.8% and 90.6%); (3) there was a significant difference in how often different age groups felt “tired of working with clients” (F(4) = 2.68, p = 0.04) and that “they couldn’t take it anymore” (F(4) = 2.53, p = 0.05); (4) child-field students reported generally higher levels of global burnout (mean CBI total = 57.9%) whilst mental health students reported lower levels (mean CBI total = 54.1%). Considering these results, it is imperative for both higher education institutions and potential employers to consider the impact of COVID-19 and burnout, and the levels of support offered to student nurses during their training and transition to practice as newly qualified nurses. Full article
17 pages, 758 KiB  
Article
Second Victims among Austrian Pediatricians (SeViD-A1 Study)
by Eva Potura, Victoria Klemm, Hannah Roesner, Barbara Sitter, Herbert Huscsava, Milena Trifunovic-Koenig, Peter Voitl and Reinhard Strametz
Healthcare 2023, 11(18), 2501; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11182501 - 8 Sep 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1735
Abstract
(1) Background: The second victim phenomenon (SVP) plays a critical role in workplace and patient safety. So far, there are limited epidemiological data on the SVP in German-speaking countries. Some studies have been carried out in Germany, but so far, no quantitative studies [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The second victim phenomenon (SVP) plays a critical role in workplace and patient safety. So far, there are limited epidemiological data on the SVP in German-speaking countries. Some studies have been carried out in Germany, but so far, no quantitative studies have been carried out in Austria examining the prevalence, symptom load and preferred support measures for second victims (SVs). This study therefore examines the SVP among Austrian pediatricians. (2) Methods: A nationwide, cross-sectional and anonymous online study was conducted using the SeViD questionnaire (Second Victims in Deutschland) including the Big Five Inventory-10 (BFI-10). Statistical analysis included binary-logistic and multiple linear regression with the bootstrapping, bias-corrected and accelerated (BCa) method based on 1000 bootstrap samples. (3) Results: Of 414 Austrian pediatricians, 89% self-identified as SVs. The main cause of becoming an SV was the unexpected death or suicide of a patient. High neuroticism and extraversion values as well as working in outpatient care positively correlated with having experienced the SVP. A preferred support strategy was access to legal counseling. (4) Conclusions: Austrian pediatricians have the highest SVP prevalence measured with the SeViD questionnaire. Further research should focus on prevention strategies and intervention programs. Full article
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10 pages, 257 KiB  
Article
Development and Assessment of the Scale of Personal Trust and Connections (PerTC): Preliminary Data from a Hospital Employee Group
by Emmanouil K. Symvoulakis, Panagiotis Volkos, Apostolos Kamekis, Konstantina Merou, Georgios Rachiotis, Myfanwy Morgan and Manolis Linardakis
Healthcare 2023, 11(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11010013 - 21 Dec 2022
Viewed by 1435
Abstract
Trust and empathy constitute basic elements of healthcare delivery. In recent years, the quest for greater efficiency in healthcare has also indicated the necessity of these values. The study aims to develop and assess a 10-item tool, namely, the Personal Trust and Connections [...] Read more.
Trust and empathy constitute basic elements of healthcare delivery. In recent years, the quest for greater efficiency in healthcare has also indicated the necessity of these values. The study aims to develop and assess a 10-item tool, namely, the Personal Trust and Connections (PerTC) scale. The study was conducted at a general hospital in eastern Crete, Greece. A total of 218 healthcare professionals participated over a six-week period in 2021. The 10-item PerTC scale encompasses emotional, social, and cognitive reliance variables. The scale was tested for reliability, and scale scores were assessed for convergent validity. PerTC scale was found with high internal consistency (Cronbach’s α = 0.863). At a multivariate level, younger age (p = 0.016), more work experience years (p = 0.001), the experience of a recent family crisis event (p = 0.028), and use of the internet in free time (p = 0.028) were significantly related to increased total scores of the PerTC scale. The new scale is an easy-to-use metric tool with good overall reliability. PerTC may be a suitable instrument to indirectly identify determinants and drivers in order to explore pathways to collectively build on trustful interaction and altruistic connection within a healthcare environment. Full article
14 pages, 661 KiB  
Article
Occupational Stress and Personality in Medical Doctors from Romania
by Lorena Mihaela Muntean, Aurel Nireștean, Marius Mărușteri, Andreea Sima-Comaniciu and Emese Lukacs
Healthcare 2022, 10(9), 1612; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10091612 - 24 Aug 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1977
Abstract
Occupational stress amongst doctors has been intensively studied as doctors are exposed to several stress factors daily. The purpose of this study was to investigate if there are associations between personality dimensions and the factors that generate stress at work. We conducted a [...] Read more.
Occupational stress amongst doctors has been intensively studied as doctors are exposed to several stress factors daily. The purpose of this study was to investigate if there are associations between personality dimensions and the factors that generate stress at work. We conducted a cross-sectional study of 280 medical doctors from Romania between February 2021 and September 2021 who were evaluated using the DECAS and ASSET Scales. Our results showed that the agreeableness and emotional stability dimensions of personality, according to the Big Five model, were statistically associated with work relationships (A p < 0.0001; ES p = 0.0005), work-life balance (A p = 0.008; ES p = 0.01), overload (A p = 0.01; ES p = 0.001), job security (A p < 0.0001; ES p = 0.002), job control (A p = 0.001; ES p = 0.009), resources and communication (A p = 0.0002; ES p < 0.0001), and job conditions (A p = 0.005; ES p = 0.03). The conscientiousness dimension was statistically associated with job control (p = 0.02). Doctors from different specialties experienced stress differently, with psychiatrists and doctors from preclinical specialties reporting the lowest levels of stress. Internists and surgeons reported higher levels of stress. This study showed that the dimensions of agreeableness and emotional stability were both associated with variables indicative of the level of stress felt at work. Full article
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11 pages, 420 KiB  
Article
Healthcare Providers’ Perception and Barriers Concerning the Use of Telehealth Applications in Saudi Arabia: A Cross-Sectional Study
by Saeed M. Alghamdi, Abdulelah M. Aldhahir, Jaber S. Alqahtani, Rayan A. Siraj, Abdullah S. Alsulayyim, Abdullah A. Almojaibel, Munyra Alhotye, Abdullah M. Alanazi and Abdullah A. Alqarni
Healthcare 2022, 10(8), 1527; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10081527 - 13 Aug 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3228
Abstract
Background: Telehealth services are widely used in Saudi Arabia. Despite this, neither the use rate nor the attitudes, perceptions, and barriers concerning telehealth applications have been evaluated nationally from the perspective of healthcare providers (HCPs). Aim: This study aims to explore the use [...] Read more.
Background: Telehealth services are widely used in Saudi Arabia. Despite this, neither the use rate nor the attitudes, perceptions, and barriers concerning telehealth applications have been evaluated nationally from the perspective of healthcare providers (HCPs). Aim: This study aims to explore the use rate of telehealth, as well as the attitudes, perceptions, and barriers concerning telehealth use in Saudi Arabia from the perspective of HCPs. Methods and design: A cross-sectional survey was conducted and distributed to all HCPs between 16 November 2021 and 16 March 2022, through an online platform (Survey Monkey). Results: Overall, 1034 HCPs completed the online survey, of which 65.0% (n = 677) were male. Physicians accounted for 22.34%, while nurses and respiratory therapists accounted for 22.34% and 21.47%, respectively. Only 491 HCPs (47%) have used telehealth applications, the majority for less than a year (21.47%) or from one to three years (14.51%). Around 44% of HCPs perceived telehealth as being useful in quality and care delivery. Around 43% of HCPs felt comfortable using telehealth, and 45.45% perceived telehealth as being useful for patients with transportation difficulties. Additionally, 38% believed that telehealth provides a confidential way of protecting patients’ information, and 36% would like to receive more training in telehealth. Speech-language therapists and public health professionals were the highest HCP users (98% and 95%, respectively), while general physicians and dentists were the lowest users (44% and 55%, respectively). Lack of time or a busy schedule was the most common barrier to not using telehealth among all HCPs (38%). Conclusion: The use of telehealth was perceived as being positive as well as valuable and confidential in monitoring and providing care. However, challenges such as the lack of time or a busy schedule impeded the use of telehealth among HCPs in Saudi Arabia. Full article
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17 pages, 565 KiB  
Article
Analysis on Burnout, Job Conditions, Alexithymia, and Other Psychological Symptoms in a Sample of Italian Anesthesiologists and Intensivists, Assessed Just before the COVID-19 Pandemic: An AAROI-EMAC Study
by Alessandro Vittori, Franco Marinangeli, Elena Giovanna Bignami, Alessandro Simonini, Alessandro Vergallo, Gilberto Fiore, Emiliano Petrucci, Marco Cascella and Roberto Pedone
Healthcare 2022, 10(8), 1370; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10081370 - 24 Jul 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1796
Abstract
Background. It was previously reported that health care professionals working in the fields of anesthesiology and emergency are at higher risk of burnout. However, the correlations between burnout, alexithymia, and other psychological symptoms are poorly investigated. Furthermore, there is a lack of [...] Read more.
Background. It was previously reported that health care professionals working in the fields of anesthesiology and emergency are at higher risk of burnout. However, the correlations between burnout, alexithymia, and other psychological symptoms are poorly investigated. Furthermore, there is a lack of evidence on which risk factors, specific to the work of anesthetists and intensivists, can increase the risk of burnout, and which are useful for developing remedial health policies. Methods. This cross-sectional study was conducted in 2020 on a sample of 300 professionals recruited from AAROI-EMAC subscribers in Italy. Data collection instruments were a questionnaire on demographic, education, job characteristics and well-being, the Maslach Burnout Inventory Tool, the Toronto Alexithymia Scale, the Symptom Checklist-90-R, and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale administered during refresher courses in anesthesiology. Correlations between burnout and physical and psychological symptoms were searched. Results. With respect to burnout, 29% of individuals scored at high risk on emotional exhaustion, followed by 36% at moderate–high risk. Depersonalization high and moderate–high risk were scored by 18.7% and 34.3% of individuals, respectively. Burnout personal accomplishment was scored by 34.7% of respondents. The highest mean scores of burnout dimensions were related to dissatisfaction with one’s career, conflicting relationships with surgeons, and, finally, difficulty in explaining one’s work to patients. Conclusions. Burnout rates in Italian anesthesiologists and intensivists have been worrying since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Anesthesiologists with higher levels of alexithymia are more at risk for burnout. It is therefore necessary to take urgent health policy measures. Full article
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9 pages, 240 KiB  
Article
Reported Injuries from Sharp Objects among Healthcare Workers in Central Greece
by Anna Patsopoulou, Ioannis Anyfantis, Ioanna V. Papathanasiou, Evangelos C. Fradelos, Maria Malliarou, Konstantinos Tsaras, Foteini Malli and Dimitrios Papagiannis
Healthcare 2022, 10(7), 1249; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10071249 - 4 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2437
Abstract
Sharp injuries (SIs) are incidents or accidents caused by a needle, blades (such as scalpels) or other medical instruments which penetrate the skin. They are among the major work-related injuries in healthcare professionals. The purpose of this study is to estimate SIs in [...] Read more.
Sharp injuries (SIs) are incidents or accidents caused by a needle, blades (such as scalpels) or other medical instruments which penetrate the skin. They are among the major work-related injuries in healthcare professionals. The purpose of this study is to estimate SIs in healthcare workers (HCWs) in Central Greece. Method: A cross-sectional descriptive study through an online survey in healthcare facilities in Central Greece was conducted. Snowball sampling contributed to further dissemination of the survey among the target population. The modified version of the EPINet questionnaire was used with self-reported answers of the participants via electronic Google form. Results: Analysis of collected data indicated that 74.1% of the participants had at least one injury, with the highest number of injuries occurring in nursing staff at 65.1% and 62.3% of injuries recorded in the morning shift. With respect to the site of the injury, participants reported 33.1% of the injuries in the patient’s room, 11.8% in the nurse’s station, 9.6% in the Emergency Department (ED), 9.2% in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), 8.4% in blood sampling, 8.4% in surgery, and only 7.8% in laboratories or other places. Additionally, hands were the most frequently affected body part (96%), while 69.6% of the workers did not report the injury and 53% of them did not apply the procedures and guidelines defined by the healthcare organization (employer). Relative factors to the injury are age, level of education, shifts, and possibly sex. Conclusions: SIs are the “Achilles heel” of health workers. The high incidence and low reporting rate of SIs highlights the need for specialized training and education. Age, work experience, and shift appear to significantly affect the incidence of injury. Full article
13 pages, 296 KiB  
Article
Job Satisfaction and Burnout in Croatian Physiotherapists
by Patricija Puhanić, Suzana Erić, Jasminka Talapko and Ivana Škrlec
Healthcare 2022, 10(5), 905; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10050905 - 13 May 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2808
Abstract
Background: Physiotherapists are important healthcare professionals in modern and multidisciplinary health forces. However, they are exposed to a high risk of occupational burnout, which is associated with reduced job satisfaction. Job satisfaction is essential for medical professionals because it directly influences patient safety [...] Read more.
Background: Physiotherapists are important healthcare professionals in modern and multidisciplinary health forces. However, they are exposed to a high risk of occupational burnout, which is associated with reduced job satisfaction. Job satisfaction is essential for medical professionals because it directly influences patient safety and the quality of medical care. Therefore, this study aimed to determine the association between sociodemographic variables of Croatian physiotherapists, job satisfaction, and occupational burnout. Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed among 404 physiotherapists using a sociodemographic questionnaire, the Job Descriptive Index (JDI), and Oldenburg Burnout Inventory (OLBI). Results: The study group of Croatian physiotherapists was marked by a high level of job satisfaction and occupational burnout. However, a higher level of occupational burnout is associated with lower job satisfaction. The main determinants of job satisfaction were younger age, female gender, less work experience, and married or partnership. At the same time, a higher level of occupational burnout was associated with working in government institutions and being single. Conclusions: As a reaction to psychological stress at work with the main components of exhaustion and disengagement, occupational burnout is negatively associated with job satisfaction. Therefore, assessing the factors influencing job satisfaction and burnout in the workplace can help develop physiotherapists’ mental health prevention strategies. Full article
12 pages, 269 KiB  
Article
Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices of Primary Care Physicians towards COVID-19 in Greece: A Cross-Sectional Study
by Emmanouil K. Symvoulakis, Ioannis Karageorgiou, Manolis Linardakis, Dimitrios Papagiannis, Chrissi Hatzoglou, Aristotelis Symeonidis and Georgios Rachiotis
Healthcare 2022, 10(3), 545; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10030545 - 16 Mar 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2755
Abstract
The aim of this study was to investigate the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of primary care physicians and residents towards the COVID-19 pandemic in Greece. A cross-sectional questionnaire-based study was conducted in Greece during March 2021. The population frame for the study was [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to investigate the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of primary care physicians and residents towards the COVID-19 pandemic in Greece. A cross-sectional questionnaire-based study was conducted in Greece during March 2021. The population frame for the study was a list of currently practicing primary care physicians and residents who were registered within one of the main associations of general/family medicine in Greece. Hierarchical multiple logistic regression analysis was performed for practices at higher levels (vs. lower) in relation to knowledge, attitudes, and general characteristics of participants. Overall, 194 participants completed the survey (e-response rate: 38.4%). In total, 94% of participants were familiar with official recommendations regarding SARS-CoV-2, and 88.7% were vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 or promptly intended to be. Physicians working in the private sector had a higher average practices score when compared to physicians working in the public sector (87.6 vs. 81.9, p < 0.05). Higher levels of attitudes predicted greater odds for higher levels of practices (odds ratio = 4.18, p < 0.05). Despite the relatively high COVID-19 vaccination rate of physicians, several participants were unvaccinated due to a then unscheduled first dose appointment. Attitudes were the only determinant for more proper practices towards the prevention of COVID-19. Full article
10 pages, 846 KiB  
Article
Characteristics of Occupational Injuries among Spanish Nursing Workers
by María del Carmen Rey-Merchán, Antonio López-Arquillos and Ana María Rey-Merchán
Healthcare 2022, 10(2), 220; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10020220 - 24 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2358
Abstract
Introduction: Nursing professionals face a multitude of daily occupational hazards that can cause occupational accidents. AIM: The objective of this work is to analyze the personal variables included in official accident reports, to evaluate their influence on occupational accidents suffered by nursing and [...] Read more.
Introduction: Nursing professionals face a multitude of daily occupational hazards that can cause occupational accidents. AIM: The objective of this work is to analyze the personal variables included in official accident reports, to evaluate their influence on occupational accidents suffered by nursing and nursing assistant professionals. Methodology: A total of 187,821 occupational accidents recorded in Spain from 2011 to 2019 were analyzed in the sector using contingency tables, chi-square, and corrected standardized residuals. Results: The results showed that the older the professional, the probability that once the accident had occurred, its severity would be more serious. Regarding gender, men are more likely to suffer more serious accidents compared to accidents registered by women. Results about the length of service and nationality did not reach statistical significance in the group of accidents analyzed. Conclusions: The planning of preventive measures must be adapted to the profiles of the workers in the most vulnerable sector. Full article
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