This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

When being present harms care

Written by: | Published:

Struggling through work when one is unwell may sou Struggling through work when one is unwell may sound admirable, but can cause serious harm to care

Rates of work-related stress and illness are on the rise at the same time as rates of absence from work are decreasing. Psychologists believe this disparity is the result of increased presenteeism – working while ill or returning to work before full recovery. In other words, people may be returning to work sooner after illness, but they aren’t returning to work well. The nursing profession is far from exempt from this phenomenon; in fact, they are at heightened risk of it.

Detecting presenteeism

Unlike absenteeism, presenteeism is often an ‘invisible’ behaviour that is more difficult to detect. The behaviour needs to be made more visible if it is to be addressed – and addressing it is vital given that the impact can be more harmful and more costly than absenteeism.1

To bring presenteeism into the limelight, there is a need to better understand what causes it. The cause is not simple, however, and it is a multitude of personal and organisational factors (Table 1).2

The health event associated with presenteeism can be episodic, acute or chronic in nature. For example, perhaps you press on despite a headache (episodic), cold or stomach bug (acute), or ongoing back pain (chronic). We have all done this from time to time, but it is a regular behaviour in ‘safety critical work’ such as nursing.

Presenteeism and altruism


Please login or register to read the rest of the article and to have access to downloads and comments.


What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Most read articles from Practice Nursing Journal

Practice Nursing Journal latest issue and most read articles.

Click here to read a selection of free to access articles from Practice Nursing Journal

Newsletter

Sign up to the newsletter

About

Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.

Archive

Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team

Authors

Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.