Experiences of Presenteeism Among Working Nurses With Chronic Conditions: A Heideggerian Hermenuetic Study
Morgenroth, April Elaina
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Presenteeism is defined as the phenomenon of an employee attending work while ill or in spite of feeling physically and/or cognitively unable to fully engage in normal day-to-day work activities (Johns, 2011). Research suggests that approximately 49% of all employed Americans will attend work while ill in any given year (Dellve et al., 2011). Presenteeism among nurses has been shown to negatively impact patient care and is associated with higher rates of patient falls and medication errors (Letvak et al., 2012). Presenteeism research in nursing has primarily focused on the employer’s point of view, leaving the perspective of the nurses unheard. The purpose of this phenomenological research study was to uncover a deep understanding of the experience of presenteeism by nurses who manage their own chronic condition while working in a healthcare setting. Participants were nurses with chronic conditions who experienced presenteeism and who, at the time of the interview, were working at least part time as a nurse in a healthcare setting. Data was collected via audio-recorded interviews. Participants were asked through open-ended non-directive interview questions to tell their story of working as a nurse with a chronic condition. Interpretation of interviews was done by an interpretive team using Heideggerian hermeneutical analysis. The number of interviews needed to reach data saturation determined the number of participants recruited for this study. Study results revealed three patterns and five themes that embody what it means to be a nurse with a chronic condition who experiences presenteeism. The themes identified were blurred boundaries, contributing to the profession, and losing and finding self. The theses included being a patient and being a nurse, proving yourself within the culture of nursing, advocacy, disclosing or withholding, and rewriting your story. The results of this Heideggerian interpretive phenomenological study contribute to nursing science through facilitating an understanding of the meaning of the experience of presenteeism among working nurses with chronic illness. This will have implications for employers of nurses for both policy making and for developing programs that support nurses’ continued contribution to the field throughout the span of their career.