Investigating the self-reported reasons for absenteeism of nurses working in a facility for intellectually disabled persons in the Western Cape
Dinizulu, Nompumelelo Florence
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Background: Absenteeism is a worldwide problem in health care facilities. Absenteeism results in low standard of care and in the dissatisfaction of clients as routine care activities tend to be disrupted due to the shortage of staff. Nurses are perceived to be under continued stress due to increased pressure at the workplace, which results in dissatisfaction, conflicts and absenteeism. Although the topic has been researched, very little information is available about nurse absenteeism in care facilities for intellectually disabled persons. Absenteeism often occurs because of low commitment by the staff members, illnesses, and job dissatisfaction. Nurse absenteeism impacts negatively on the activities of the facilities because the work becomes disorganized and schedules are delayed and patient care may be compromised. Aims and objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate self-reported reasons for absenteeism amongst nurses working in a facility for intellectually disabled persons in the Western Cape. The objectives were to describe the safety and security reasons, physical conditions, and work relations that contributed to absenteeism of nurses in this facility. Research design and method: A quantitative descriptive approach was utilised, using a self-completed questionnaire. Study setting and population: The study was conducted in a facility for intellectually disabled persons in Western Cape. The study population comprised all the permanently employed nurses working in a facility for intellectually disabled persons in the Western Cape in 2017. The population of nurses in this facility was N=191. Ten nurses (3 RNs, 3 ENs and 4 ENAs) who were not part of the actual study, participated in a pilot study, another ten nurses were nurse managers who were not included. Twenty nurses were on leave, therefore the study population for this study was 151 nurses (n=151). All inclusive sampling was used. Data analysis: Data was managed and analysed using SPSS version 24. Data is presented in tables, graphs and charts. Results: The majority of participants 76% reported that the physical environment contributed to their absenteeism. 54.6% of the respondents were concerned about physical injuries that they often sustain whilst caring for their clients. 56.6% of respondents reported that the psychosocial environment was also perceived to be unconducive. Absenteeism was also influenced by the lack of equitable access to training opportunities. Other factors reported included heavy workloads which lead to burnout (62%n=67). Conclusions and recommendations: There is a need for the improvement of the infrastructure in the institution, the introduction of wellness programmes in the workplace and support of nurses to limit burnout. Equitable access to training and opportunities for and career development should be encouraged by nurse managers.