1. Rainbow, Jessica G. PhD, RN
  2. Dudding, Katherine M. PhD, RN
  3. Bethel, Claire MSN, RN-BC


OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to understand nurse awareness of coping and decision making regarding presenteeism and the consequences thereof.


BACKGROUND: Nurses report high levels of presenteeism or not being able to fully function in the workplace, but we currently lack understanding of nurse perceptions of presenteeism and its consequences.


METHODS: A qualitative descriptive method was used to evaluate the perceptions of nurses from medical surgical units at 2 different hospitals.


FINDINGS: For purposes of the study, presenteeism was defined as being present at work when not fully engaged. Most respondents experienced presenteeism in the month before data collection. Five categories of themes were identified: 1) factors leading to presenteeism, 2) awareness and symptoms of presenteeism, 3) coping with presenteeism on and off shift, 4) decision making regarding presenteeism, and 5) consequences of presenteeism.


CONCLUSIONS: Both personal and work factors contribute to presenteeism. To decrease presenteeism, healthcare leaders and systems should consider reviewing and changing sick/leave polices, unit cultures, and a lack of resources that contribute to and encourage an awareness of presenteeism, thereby decreasing nurse fatigue.