Recurrent reports from national and international studies show a persistent high prevalence of sickness presence among hospital physicians. Despite the negative consequences reported, we do not know a lot about the reasons why physicians choose to work when ill, and whether there may be some positive correlates of this behaviour that in turn may lead to the design of appropriate interventions. The aim of this study is to explore the perception and experience with sickness presenteeism among hospital physicians, and to explore possible positive and negative foundations and consequences associated with sickness presence.
Semi-structured interviews of 21 Norwegian university hospital physicians.
Positive and negative dimensions associated with 1) evaluation of illness, 2) organizational structure, 3) organizational culture, and 4) individual factors simultaneously contributed to presenteeism.
The study underlines the inherent complexity of the causal chain of events affecting sickness presenteeism, something that also inhibits intervention. It appears that sufficient staffing, predictability in employment, adequate communication of formal policies and senior physicians adopting the position of a positive role model are particularly important.
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