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Sick Students

Presenteeism Among Nursing Students in 3 Countries

Critz, Catharine, PhD, APRN, CPNP, PMHS; Feagai, Hobie Etta, EdD, APRN; Akeo, April, PhD, RN, MBA; Tanaka, Mieko, PhD, RN, PHN; Shin, Juh Hyun, PhD, RN; Erickson, Michael, PhD; Ikeda, Mari, PhD, RN, PHN; Moriya, Haruyo, PhD, PHN; Ozaki, Kyoko, PhD, MD

doi: 10.1097/NNE.0000000000000665
Nurse Educator: PDF Only

Background Presenteeism, the act of going to work while sick, is associated with increases in medication errors, patient falls, diminished quality of care, and higher costs. To date, presenteeism has not been described among nursing students.

Purpose This study described presenteeism in nursing students from 3 different international nursing programs.

Method A self-administered survey with open-ended responses was used.

Results While nearly all student respondents believed going to class and clinical experiences put their classmates and patients at risk, the overall presenteeism rate was 85.5% for class and 69.5% for clinical experiences. Although there were significant differences between universities for reasons for presenteeism, a lack of opportunity for making up missed lecture or clinical time predominated.

Conclusion Nursing students in 3 culturally different cities reported going to class and clinical experiences while sick despite recognizing the safety risk.

Author Affiliations: Professor (Drs Critz and Feagai) and Assistant Professor (Dr Akeo), Department of Nursing, College of Health and Society, Hawaii Pacific University, Honolulu; Professor (Drs Tanaka, Ikeda, Moriya, and Ozaki), School of Nursing, Tokyo Woman's Medical University, Japan; Professor (Dr Shin), College of Nursing, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, South Korea; and Associate Professor and Director (Dr Erickson), Residential Honors Program, College of Liberal Arts, Department of Psychology, Hawaii Pacific University, Honolulu.

This work was supported by the Hawaii Pacific University, College of Health and Society Faculty Development Award.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Dr Critz, Hawaii Pacific University, 45-045 Kamehameha Highway, Kaneohe, Hawaii 96744 (

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s Web site (

Accepted for publication: January 28, 2019

Published ahead of print: March 7, 2019

Cite this article as: Critz C, Feagai HE, Akeo A, et al. Sick students: presenteeism among nursing students in 3 countries. Nurse Educ. 2019; doi: 10.1097/NNE.0000000000000665. [Epub ahead of print]

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