Nurses’ Presenteeism and Its Effects on Self-Reported Quality of Care and Costs February 2012 By Christopher J. RuhmSusan A. LetvakSat N. Gupta Nurses’ Presenteeism and Its Effects on Self-Reported Quality of Care and Costs OBJECTIVE: Although research has been conducted on how nurse staffing levels affect outcomes, there has been little investigation into how the health-related productivity of nurses is related to quality of care. Two major causes of worker presenteeism (reduced on-the-job productivity as a result of health problems) are musculoskeletal pain and mental health issues, particularly depression. This study sought to investigate the extent to which musculoskeletal pain or depression (or both) in RNs affects their work productivity and self-reported quality of care and considered the associated costs. METHODS: Using a cross-sectional survey design, a random sample of 2,500 hospital-employed RNs licensed in North Carolina were surveyed using a survey instrument sent by postal mail. Specific measures included questions on individual and workplace characteristics, self-reported quality of care, and patient safety; a numeric pain rating scale, a depression tool (the Patient Health Questionnaire), and a presenteeism tool (the Work Productivity and Activity Impairment Questionnaire: General Health) were also incorporated. A total of 1,171 completed surveys were returned and used for analysis. RESULTS: Among respondents, the prevalence of musculoskeletal pain was 71%; that of depression was 18%. The majority of respondents (62%) reported a presenteeism score of at least 1 on a 0-to-10 scale, indicating that health problems had affected work productivity at least “a little.” Pain and depression were significantly associated with presenteeism. Presenteeism was significantly associated with a higher number of patient falls, a higher number of medication errors, and lower quality-of-care scores. Baseline cost estimates indicate that the increased falls and medication errors caused by presenteeism are expected to cost $1,346 per North Carolina RN and just under $2 billion for the United States annually. Upper-boundary estimates exceed $9,000 per North Carolina RN and $13 billion for the nation annually. CONCLUSION: More attention must be paid to the health of the nursing workforce to positively influence the quality of patient care and patient safety and to control costs. American Journal of Nursing American Journal of Nursing Areas of focus Health Policy Christopher J. Ruhm Christopher J. Ruhm is a professor of public policy and economics at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. Ruhm’s recent research has focused on the role of government policies in helping parents with young children balance the competing needs of work and family life, and on examining how various aspects of health are produced – including the growth and sources of drug poisoning deaths in the United States, the rise in obesity and the relationship between macroeconomic conditions and health. Read full bio Susan A. Letvak Sat N. Gupta Related Content Christopher J. Ruhm Estimated Prevalence of and Factors Associated With Clinically Significant Anxiety and Depression Among US Adults During the First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic Research How much did clinically significant anxiety and depression increase among US adults during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic? In this survey study of more than 1.4 million respondents in the US Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey, responses to a screening question calibrated to a 4-item Patient Health Questionnaire score of 6 or greater suggested that aggregate prevalence of clinically significant anxiety and depression increased only modestly overall among US adults in 2020 compared with 2017 to 2019. The Opioid Crisis, Health, Healthcare, and Crime: A Review Of Quasi-Experimental Economic Studies Research This study reviews quasi-experimental studies that examine the relationship between opioids and health and healthcare, and crime outcomes in the U.S. Ruhm Named SEA Distinguished Fellow News Chris Ruhm, Batten professor of public policy and economics, has received a Distinguished Fellow Award from the Southern Economic Association in recognition for his “substantial record of exceptional scholarly achievement and long-term involvement and service to the association.” Batten Showcase 2022: Family and Medical Leave Policies in the US: Where We Are and How We Got Here ft. Chris Ruhm News In this lecture, professor of public policy and economics at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, Chris Ruhm, discusses family medical leave policy in the United States. Ruhm looks at where we are now, how we got here and how to move forward.