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.
This study described presenteeism in nursing students from 3 different international nursing programs.
A self-administered survey with open-ended responses was used.
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.
Nursing students in 3 culturally different cities reported going to class and clinical experiences while sick despite recognizing the safety risk.