health workers

Health workers


Health workers have been found to be at a rather high risk of acquiring infectious illnesses in the undertaking of their various roles. A health worker with an infectious disease can easily to transfer it to patients or to other members of staff within and outside the health care facility. The high risk of infections among the health workers prompts the need for necessary measures to be taken to prevent occurrence of infections and their spread. Controlling infectious diseases remains fundamental towards enhancing safety of healthcare workers within working environments. Controlling involves educating the employees, initiating protective measures, among other preventive methods aimed at minimizing probability of contracting infectious diseases among healthcare workers.

Undertaken researches have sought to find out the existing relationship between infectious diseases and health care workers with most of the qualitative studies identifying the main forms of transmission of the occupational infections as being airborne, through fluids and droplets as well as through physical contact. The most common infectious diseases include Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B virus, Hepatitis C virus and HIV (Nienhaus et al. 2012; Sepkowitz & Eisenberg 2005; Sepkowitz 1996). Majority of the infections healthcare workers get remain airborne which could easily become transmitted without individuals noticing. Diseases contracted through bodily contact can be prevented through minimizing contact; hence they provide minimal infections compared to airborne diseases.

According to Sepkowitz & Eisenberg (2005), the estimated death rate among health workers, per year, as a result of occupational infections is 17 to 57 health workers in every one million care givers. These statistics prompts for action to be taken in the prevention of the various infections. Prevalence of infection increases with laxity in providing preventive measures within the working environments. Lack of proper safety measures significantly increases the probability for infection among caregivers. Providing preventive measures within hospital environments remains the best method for handling and minimizing occurrence of infections within the healthcare environment.

A research undertaken by Nienhaus et al. (2012) to study infectious diseases among health care givers identified TB as an infection that still poses as a great risk to the workers. The rates of infections for Hepatitis B virus and Hepatitis C virus were found to have reduced though the infections were still frequently evident. Needle stick injuries were also reported to be on the decline, though still frequent, and as those requiring close observation and attention. Data for the study was obtained from a compensation board containing set data for Health workers working in nongovernmental organizations. The information from public healthcare organizations remains limited to government departments; hence remains available to involved departments.

Numerous research studies have focused on the risk of different groups of health care givers getting infected through blood-borne pathogens. The highest infection rates have been found to be among the nurses and those in the surgical rooms (Aiken et al. 1997; White & Lynch 1997; Cloeren & Perl 2001). The researchers are in agreement that each of the occurring infections, most of which are never reported, can be prevented through various ways such as vaccination, TB screening and use of safety devices. Education of the means of transmission and ways of prevention for the various infections has been found to be important, though not very effective (Cloeren & Perl 2001). Individuals working within the healthcare environment remain highly advised to practice safe operation methods, which minimize probability of workplace infections occurring.

The coping theory relates to the reactions and actions of organisms in response to an occurring phenomenon. It involves the development of strategies to solve a particular problem affecting an individual, group of people or the society. This enables individuals to effectively understand the effects of various diseases which could affect them within the working environment. Through such understanding, the individuals become better placed to handle infections, when they occur. Healthcare workers become better informed and properly empowered to cope with challenges brought by infectious diseases (Carver & Connor-Smith, 2010). With regard to this research, the theory will be important in identifying the strategies put in place to reduce the spread of infections among health workers and the effectiveness of those strategies. This process will begin by identifying the various infections, the magnitude of infection among health workers, causes of the infections and the various prevention or mitigation measures available.


This report was written following collection of information regarding infectious diseases upon healthcare workers within a hospital. The research was undertaken in healthcare workers based in a hospital in Saudi Arabia. A total of four individuals were involved in the research which sought to identify the infectious disease risk presented to health workers while undertaking their daily responsibilities. The individuals who were involved within this research participated voluntarily and those who never wanted to be involved were not included within the interviewees. The information regarding participants was held confidentially to enhance protection for individuals volunteering participation in this research. Participation was based on the willingness of healthcare individuals to participate within the research, through providing researcher with relevant information. Through volunteering and ensuring confidentiality of information, the researcher aimed at ensuring the individuals offer true information regarding infectious diseases.


Infectious diseases remain highly prevalent among healthcare workers as these individuals remain susceptible to infection. Handling infected individuals puts healthcare workers at immense danger of contracting diseases, which can be transferred from patients, through different means (Wickstrom, 2004). Majority of infectious diseases affecting healthcare workers remain airborne diseases, as they can become transferred from a different location without the individual’s knowledge. Though protection can sufficiently mitigate prevalence of these infections, the environment where these infections occur presents significant infection risk to healthcare workers. With numerous individuals seeking medical attention from different ailments, it remains difficult to identify those suffering from infectious diseases, before diagnosis. During this diagnosis stage, healthcare workers remain highly exposed to the imminent danger of infection.

While some common occurring infections remain controlled through simple treatment, healthcare workers remain at significant risk of contracting serious ailments, which could ultimately result in death. Tuberculosis, for example, remains a killer infectious disease, which could become contracted by healthcare workers during service delivery. Such infectious ailments, though rare, remain dangerous because of the adverse health effects presented (Ahn, 2010). The rate of infection among healthcare workers remains relatively high at 75%. This indicates that almost every patient seeking treatment from communicable disease presents a high probability of infecting another individual during treatment, or while seeking treatment. Individuals working within specific disease centres remain highly exposed, if the diseases are infectious. Since patients cannot control their capability for infecting others, healthcare workers have the responsibility of protecting themselves from infectious diseases.


Nienhaus, A, Kesavachandra, C, Wendeler, D & Haamann, F 2012, ‘Infectious diseases in healthcare workers – an analysis of the standardised data set of a German compensation board’, Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology, vol.7 no. 8, pp. 1745-6673.

Sepkowitz, K & Eisenberg, L 2005, ‘Occupational deaths among healthcare workers’, Emerg Infect Dis, vol.11 no.7, pp.1003-1008.

Sepkowitz, K1996, ‘Occupationally acquired infections in health care workers’, Ann Intern Med., vo. 125, no. 826–34

White, M & Lynch, P 1997, ‘Blood contacts in the operating room after hospital-specific data analysis and action’, Am J Infect Control, vol. 25, pp. 209-214.