Institute of Mental Health1
High absenteeism rate among nurses is a global problem and poses a challenge for the organization to manage. Establishing reasons for nurses to be absent from work can help employers develop strategies to reduce absenteeism. The present study aims to identify the factors contributing to nurses taking sick leave in the Institute of Mental Health and assess if there is any support for the nurses that can be enhanced.
This was a cross-sectional, descriptive study. An online survey was conducted to explore contributing factors of sick leave among Registered and Enrolled Nurses working in 12 inpatient wards. The online questionnaire was self-designed with internal consistency tested (Cronbach’s Alpha = .79)
A total of 231 nursing staff were recruited. Cross tabulation, univariate and multi-regression statistics were conducted. Common ailments and musculoskeletal problems were the main identified reasons for nurses taking sick leave. Other factors including high workload, strenuous physical exertion, fatigue, stress, work scheduling and supervisor’s support were identified as contributing factors to nurses taking sick leave in both univariate and multiple regression models.
The study concluded that improving the nurses’ working conditions for their physical well-being, enhancing psychological and emotional support for the nurses and improving communication between the management and the nurses can help reduce absenteeism among the nurses. It is recommended to fill up vacant frontline posts as soon as possible, Human Resource to conduct regular town-hall with staff to clear any doubt on manpower policies, staff benefits and process of performance appraisal.