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Rationale : There are several potential harmful exposures in hospital, for example chemical reagents, radiation, virus, bacteria, nosocomial agents, etc. These exposures may be the major causes of absence due to sickness among nursing staff. Furthermore exposure to job strain could also causes absence. Absence due to sickness among nursing staff not only causes an increase of work burden and job strain on other colleagues but also causes both direct and indirect cost lost to the system. Therefore, the magnitude and causes of this problem should be explored in order to gather information to plan for appropriate occupational health intervention to prevent or minimize this problem.
Objectives: The objectives of this study are (1) to estimate the rate of absence due to sickness, (2) to estimate the average duration of absence, (3) to estimate extra wages dude to absence.
Method: It was a descriptive study. The population in this study was nursing staff who took sick leave during the period from January 1 to December 31, 2000. Information was collected from sick leave form. Data was analyzed by SPSS-PC program. The results are presented by descriptive statistics.
Results : There were 759 out of 1445 nursing staff taking sick leave during the period from January 1 to December 31 ,2000. There were 1373 sick leave forms. The rate of sickness absence was estimated to be 0.95 time/person/year or 6 persons/day. The average duration of absence was estimated to be 1.7 days/person/year. The top three causes of sickness absence were having a headache or fever (21.0%), common cold (18.8%) and diarrhea (10.8%). Among those taking sick-leave for more than 3 days/time, the top causes of sickness absence were undergoing an ovarian operation or breast operation, and threaten abortion. The extra wages due to absence was estimated to be 34,284 Bath/month.
Conclusion: The rate of sickness absence was not high, however, the top three causes of sickness absence are due to preventable symptoms. It should be further investigate as to whether the tip causes of sickness absence among those taking sick-leave of more than 3 days/time are related to workplace exposure or not.
Keywords : absenteeism, healthcare workers, nurse, occupational health
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