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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 45  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 19-22

Assessment of work-related health problems among healthcare professionals in a Tertiary Care Hospital


Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University, Poona College of Pharmacy, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication27-Jul-2018

Correspondence Address:
Manjusha Sajith
Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University, Poona College of Pharmacy, Pune, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jss.JSS_2_18

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  Abstract 


Background: Healthcare profession is known to be at high risk for work-related health problems that are responsible for lowering the quality of workers life and reducing the productivity. Aims: This study aims to evaluate the work-related health problems and self-medication among healthcare professionals (HCPs). Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional observational survey conducted for 1 month, which included all HCP willing to participate in the study. Data including demographic details, food habits, working schedule, health issues due to work, medication history, and current medication were collected through a self-designed questionnaire. The collected data were analyzed and interpreted using descriptive statistics. Results: Out of 200 HCP, 118 were nurses and 82 were doctors. Most of them were female (77%) within an age group of 21–25 years (69%) and a majority of them were unmarried (78%). Meals were frequently skipped (90%), and most of them had food from outside (70%). A majority of the HCP had work-related health problems, mainly including low back pain (68%), acidity (66%), and muscle pain (60%). Self-medication practice was observed in 92% of the HCP wherein most of them were over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, including ibuprofen + paracetamol (73%), paracetamol (70%), and pantoprazole (63%). Prescription drugs included naproxen (56%) and nimesulide (35%). Conclusions: Majority of the HCP had work-related health problems such as low back pain, acidity, muscle pain, and headache. Self-medication was practiced commonly, mostly including OTC drugs such as ibuprofen with paracetamol combination, paracetamol, and pantoprazole, and prescription drugs such as naproxen and nimesulide.

Keywords: Acidity, ibuprofen, low back pain, muscle pain, nimesulide, pantoprazole, paracetamol


How to cite this article:
Malayil Mangalath AA, Alias A, Sajith M. Assessment of work-related health problems among healthcare professionals in a Tertiary Care Hospital. J Sci Soc 2018;45:19-22

How to cite this URL:
Malayil Mangalath AA, Alias A, Sajith M. Assessment of work-related health problems among healthcare professionals in a Tertiary Care Hospital. J Sci Soc [serial online] 2018 [cited 2018 Dec 13];45:19-22. Available from: http://www.jscisociety.com/text.asp?2018/45/1/19/237755




  Introduction Top


Work-related health problems, especially musculoskeletal disorders are known to be a major risk in healthcare profession and are responsible for morbidity, lowering the quality of workers life, and reducing the productivity.[1],[2],[3] Apart from lowering the quality of workers’ life and reducing the productivity, work-related health problems attribute to about 40% of all costs toward the treatment of work-related problems. It is estimated that almost one-third of all cases of sick leave among the healthcare professionals (HCPs) are related to work-related health problems.[1],[3]

Self-medication practices are alarmingly high in HCPs, despite knowing the consequences and potential risks. The high prevalence of self-medication may be due work-related health problems and contributing factors such as professional exposure to drugs, knowledge of their illness, restricted time, and treatment choice.[4],[5]

A survey of work-related problems and related self-medication among HCPs is important because this population represents a group of highly-educated members of the society that have better access to healthcare-related information. In addition, their attitudes toward drug therapy could affect the way they prescribe medication in the present as well as future and hence thereby affect patient care. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess the work-related problems and self-medication practices among HCPs at a tertiary care hospital.


  Materials and Methods Top


A cross-sectional observational survey was carried out among HCPs in a tertiary care hospital, Pune for 1 month. A convenience sample of 200 participants was recruited from the HCPs of Bharati Hospital, Pune. The study protocol was approved by the Institutional Research Committee of Bharati Hospital and Research Centre, Pune. The objectives were explained to the HCPs involved in the study by providing them an information sheet and their verbal consent was obtained. All the participants were ensured confidentiality. The data were collected by providing a self-administered pre-tested questionnaire prepared in English to the healthcare professional after their clinic hours. The questionnaire was done in the presence of the research assistants and was also ensured if any respondent required any assistance in filling the questionnaire. The self-administered questionnaire was validated by research committee and faculty of the Clinical Pharmacy Department, Bharati Hospital and Research Centre, Pune. Data collection sheet consisted of two sections; the first section was about demographic information and characteristics (such as age, gender, marital status, occupation, etc.,) while the second section had validated questions such as food habits, working schedule, any work-related problems such as low back pain, acidity, muscle pain, headache, and sleep deprivation along with a number of drugs used in the last 3 months, practicing self-medication yes or no. Every adult (a person who has completed 18 years of age) cannot work for more than 48 h in a week and not more than 9 h in a day,[6] hence all the HCP in this study who were found to work more than 9 h a day were considered as overworking (long working hours). Reseachers have proved that healthy sleep hours for adults (23–64 years) are 7–9 h.[7],[8] Any HCP in the present study that had a sleeping habit of less than the recommended sleep hours were categorized under sleep deprivation. History about skipping meals, working hours and self medication was taken for 3 months to avoid recall bias. Pilot study was carried out in 20 HCP. During the pilot study, the participants responded to all questions without confusions. Reliability scale evaluation was performed, and good Cronbach's alpha (α± = 0.78) score was achieved. Descriptive data analysis was conducted using Microsoft Office Excel 2010;Version:14.0.4734.1000 (32-bit), (Product ID: 02260-018-0000106-48640) for data entry and results were reported as frequencies and percentage to identify the demographics of patients, work-related health problems, and drugs used for self medication.


  Results Top


Demographic characteristics

[Table 1] shows that out of 200 HCP, including 118 nurses and 82 doctors (physicians, physician assistants, nurses, other allied healthcare professionals such as physical therapists, radiotherapist, and dietician) most of them were females (77%) within an age group of 21–25 years (69%) and a majority of them were unmarried (78%).
Table 1: Various characteristics of the healthcare professionals

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Distribution of working hours among healthcare professionals

[Figure 1] describes the working schedule wherein most of them had working hours ranging from 16 to 24 h (59%) while only 41% had a working hour range of 8–12 h. Nurses and other allied healthcare professionals in this tertiary care hospital had a fixed working schedule of 8–12 h, whereas physicians and physician assistants had no specific working schedule per day and their working hours ranged from 16 to 24 h.
Figure 1: Distribution of working hours among healthcare professionals

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Food habits among healthcare professionals

Meals were frequently skipped, and most of them had only 2–3 meals/day (90%), whereas 10% of them had no meals skipped. Only 30% had homemade food while 70% HCP had food from outside.

Various work-related health problems among healthcare professionals

Work-related health problems were found in almost all HCP wherein a majority of them had musculoskeletal problems such as low back pain (68%) and muscle pain (60%) followed by acidity (66%), headache (40%), and sleep deprivation (30%) [Table 2].
Table 2: Various work-related health problems and self-medication among the healthcare professionals

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Self-medication practices in healthcare professionals

Self-medication practice was observed in all the HCP wherein most of them were over the counter (OTC) drugs, including ibuprofen + paracetamol (73%), paracetamol (70%), pantoprazole (63%), multivitamins (39%), gelusil (26%), and ranitidine (13%). Prescription drugs included naproxen (56%) and nimesulide (35%) [Table 2].


  Discussion Top


High prevalence of work-related health problems among HCP was observed in this tertiary care hospital wherein most of them were females (77%) who suffered from work-related health problems. Studies conducted by Tinubu et al.[9] and Cromie et al.[10] reported a female predominance in the prevalence of work-related health problems among HCP. Furthermore, Yashobant et al. reported 1.9 times higher risk for females having work-related problems than males. In this study, 69% of the HCP were within the age group of 21–25 years. Many studies, including those reported by Yasobant and Rajkumar[1] and Cromie et al.[10] have revealed that younger age group of <30 years, with <5 years of professional experience have a greater chance of developing work-related problems, but is opposed by Tinubu et al.[9]

Work-related health problems were found in almost all HCP wherein majority of them had musculoskeletal problems such as low back pain and muscle pain followed by acidity headache and sleep deprivation. Smedley et al.[11] and Maul et al.[12] reported a higher prevalence of low back pain, 60% and 70%, respectively, which is similar to that observed in this study. One of the reasons for the musculoskeletal disorder maybe the long working hours wherein most of them had working hours ranging from 16 to 24 h (59%) while 41% with 8–12 h and also working in cramped or awkward position for long periods or handling an excessive number of patients in 1 day. It was also noticed that physicians and assistants physicians among the HCP in this tertiary care hospital had no specific working schedule and worked for long hours (16–24 h). Acidity is caused due to the hypersecretion of gastric acid in the stomach and hypersecretion of gastric acid can occur by skipping of meals or eating foods that stimulate acid secretion (spicy food, junk foods, etc.,).[13],[14] Meals were frequently skipped, and a majority of the HCP in this study had only 2–3 meals/day (90%), mostly missing breakfast and lunch, whereas 10% of them had no meals skipped. Furthermore, almost all HCP had food from outside, which can be a contributing factor for acidity.

Self-medication practices were frequently observed in all the HCP in this study, mostly due to work-related health problems. Analgesics followed by antipyretics, antacids, and multivitamins were the class of drugs self-medicated by the HCP in this study. Similar studies conducted by Manjusha et al.[15] and Abdul et al.[4] reported that analgesics followed by antipyretics, anti-inflammatory drugs and antacids were commonly used for self-medication practices. A similar result was also reported in a study conducted in Ethiopia by Abay and Amelo[16] that revealed a higher incidence of analgesics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs followed by antacids and multivitamins in self-medication practices.


  Conclusions Top


Majority of the HCP had work-related health problems such as low back pain, acidity, muscle pain, and headache. Self-medication was practiced commonly, mostly including OTC drugs like Ibuprofen with paracetamol combination, paracetamol and pantoprazole, and prescription drugs such as naproxen and nimesulide. Working in the same positions for long periods, working in awkward or cramped positions and handling an excessive number of patients in 1 day are some of reasons for work-related low back pain and muscle pain. Awareness, education, and training programs on prevention and coping strategies work-related health problems should be made mandatory for HCP not only to reduce the occurrence of work-related health problems but also to promote efficiency in patient care. Furthermore, the HCP should be encouraged to enter the patient role to avoid self-medication.

Acknowledgment

We would like to thank all the staff including residents, doctors and nurses of Bharati Hospital and Research Centre, Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University, Pune, for helping us in the completion of the study.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Yasobant S, Rajkumar P. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders among health care professionals: A cross-sectional assessment of risk factors in a tertiary hospital, India. Indian J Occup Environ Med 2014;18:75-81.  Back to cited text no. 1
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Senthil A, Anandh B, Jayachandran P, Thangavel G, Josephin D, Yamini R, et al. Perception and prevalence of work-related health hazards among health care workers in public health facilities in Southern India. Int J Occup Environ Health 2015;21:74-81.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
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Sandul Y, Paramasivan R. Health of the healthcare professionals: A risk assessment study on work-related musculoskeletal disorders in a tertiary hospital, Chennai, India. Int J Med Sci Public Health 2015;5:189-95.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
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Abdul NA, Jason TK, Choo CK, Dhanaraj SA. Self-medication practices among healthcare professionals in a private university, Malaysia. Int Curr Pharm J 2012;1:302-10.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Epstein AM, Read JL, Winickoff R. Physician beliefs, attitudes, and prescribing behavior for anti-inflammatory drugs. Am J Med 1984;77:313-8.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
National Laws on Labour, Social Security and Related Human Rights: The Factories Act, 1948 (Act No. 63 of 1948), as Amended by the Factories (Amendment) Act, 1987 (Act 20 of 1987): CHAPTER VI. Working Hours of Adults. Available from: https://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/WEBTEXT/32063/64873/E87IND01.htm. [Last accessed on 2018 Mar 5].  Back to cited text no. 6
    
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Hirshkowitz M, Whiton K, Albert SM, Alessi C, Bruni O, DonCarlos L, et al. National sleep foundation's sleep time duration recommendations: Methodology and results summary. Sleep Health 2015;1:40-3.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
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Watson NF, Badr MS, Belenky G, Bliwise DL, Buxton OM, Buysse D, et al. Recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult: A Joint consensus statement of the American academy of sleep medicine and sleep research society. Sleep 2015;38:843-4.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
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Tinubu BM, Mbada CE, Oyeyemi AL, Fabunmi AA. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders among nurses in Ibadan, South-West Nigeria: A cross-sectional survey. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 2010;11:12.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
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Cromie JE, Robertson VJ, Best MO. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders in physical therapists: Prevalence, severity, risks, and responses. Phys Ther 2000;80:336-51.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
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Maul I, Läubli T, Klipstein A, Krueger H. Course of low back pain among nurses: A longitudinal study across eight years. Occup Environ Med 2003;60:497-503.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
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Osefo N, Ito T, Jensen RT. Gastric acid hypersecretory states: Recent insights and advances. Curr Gastroenterol Rep 2009;11:433-41.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
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Jarosz M, Taraszewska A. Risk factors for gastroesophageal reflux disease: The role of diet. Prz Gastroenterol 2014;9:297-301.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
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Manjusha S, Sruthi MS, Naveen TR, Pawar A. Self-medication practices among health care professional students in a tertiary care hospital, Pune. Open Public Health J 2017;10:63-8.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
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Abay SM, Amelo W. Assessment of self-medication practices among medical, pharmacy, and health science students in gondar university, Ethiopia. J Young Pharm 2010;2:306-10.  Back to cited text no. 16
    


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  [Table 1], [Table 2]



 

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