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Examining the Impact of Worker and Workplace Factors on Prolonged Work Absences Among Canadian Nurses

Franche, Renée-Louise PhD; Murray, Eleanor MPH; Ibrahim, Selahadin MSc; Smith, Peter PhD; Carnide, Nancy MSc; Côté, Pierre PhD; Gibson, Jane MClSc; Koehoorn, Mieke PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: August 2011 - Volume 53 - Issue 8 - p 919–927
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3182255dea
Original Articles

Objective: To evaluate the impact of worker and workplace factors and of their relationships on work absence duration.

Methods: Structural equation modeling of 11,762 female, Canadian nurses from the 2005 National Survey of the Work and Health of Nurses.

Results: Worker and workplace factors were associated with prolonged work absence. Key proximal predictors were pain-related work interference, depression, pain severity, and respect and support at work. More distal predictors were multimorbidity, abuse at work, and organizational culture.

Conclusions: Worker health and workplace factors are important in explaining work absence duration. Self-management for pain and mood, adapted to the work context, may be useful for nurses with chronic pain or depression. Policy makers and administrators should focus on creating respect and support at work, and improving organizational culture.

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From the Solid Organ Transplant Unit (Dr Franche), Vancouver General Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; School of Population and Public Health (Drs Franche and Koehoorn and Ms Murray), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada; Faculty of Health Sciences (Dr Franche), Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada; Institute for Work & Health (Dr Franche, Mr Ibrahim, and Mss Carnide and Gibson), Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Dalla Lana School of Public Health (Drs Franche, Smith, and Côté), University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and Toronto Western Research Institute (Dr Côté), Toronto Western Hospital, Ontario, Canada.

Address correspondence to: Renée-Louise Franche, PhD, Solid Organ Transplant Unit, 2775 Laurel st, 5th floor, Vancouver General Hospital, Vancouver, BC, V5Z 1M9, Canada. E-mail:

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Copyright © 2011 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine