Evidence-Based Practice Network

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The Evidence Says: Take Time Off
I read with interest an original research article published in the February issue of the American Journal of Nursing, Nurses' Presenteeism and Its Effects on Self-Reported Quality of Care and Costs (Letvak, Ruhm, & Gupta, 2012). I was not familiar with the term presenteeism but I was familiar with concept. Presenteeism is defined as reduced productivity on the job as a result of health problems (Letvak, et al., 2012). The most common causes of presenteeism are depression and musculoskeletal pain. How many times have you gone to work when you were not feeling well, had aches and pains or were feeling depressed? The guilt in us as nurses compels us to go to work even when we are sick or not up to it.

This study shows that nurses who go to work when they are experiencing health problems are not doing their patients any favors. Presenteeism increases the number of patient falls, increases the number of medication errors, decreases overall quality of care, and increases costs (Letvak, et al., 2012). The evidence is clear on this matter, going to work with health problems negatively impacts the quality of patient care. The next time you have a health problem and are debating about calling in sick or taking a leave of absence to deal with your health issue, think twice and do your patient a favor – call in sick.

Letvak, S., Ruhm, C., Gupta, S. 2012.
Nurses presenteeism and its effects on self-reported quality of care and costs. American Journal of Nursing, 112(2).

Submitted by:
Anne Dabrow Woods, MSN, RN, CRNP, ANP-BC
Chief Nurse and Publisher
Wolters Kluwer Health / Lippincott Williams & Wilkins / Ovid Technologies

Posted by Anne Dabrow Woods on 2/25/2012 4:33:48 AM with 0 comments

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