Nurse absenteeism: An analysis of trends and perceptions of nurse unit managers

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Abstract

Aim:

To explore absenteeism trends and absenteeism management from the perspective of nurse unit managers.

Background:

Unscheduled absenteeism among nurses appears to be a multi-factorial phenomenon and is a source of concern due to the effect absenteeism has on the daily management of human resources, ultimately affecting delivery of safe care. Identifying absenteeism trends among nurses may inform the development of targeted strategies to minimize unscheduled absenteeism.

Methods:

A mixed-methods approach was used with the quantitative phase retrospectively reviewing and analysing nurse absenteeism data, whilst the qualitative phase involved semi-structured interviews with nurse unit managers, exploring their perceptions pertaining to the absenteeism trends.

Results:

Data analysis revealed that absenteeism in hospitals follows various trends, amongst them seasonal, daily, and demographic trends. A heavy workload, which takes its toll on the nurses’ physical and mental health, also contributes to nurse absenteeism.

Conclusion:

This study reveals absenteeism trends from nurse managers’ perspectives, with authentication from official statistics. Any prescriptive measures for absenteeism should take into account absenteeism trend analysis and the work environment.

Implications for Nursing Management:

An analysis of absenteeism trends will assist management in initiating tailor-made intervention measures.

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